Ryderwood dedicates new flagpole, retires old emblems

Stephen Floyd

Residents Gary Anderson and Jerry Barton (right) hoist the new telescoping flagpole at Ryderwood’s Memorial Garden while Norm Price (left) sings the National Anthem. Anderson and Barton were credited among those who helped see the flagpole project through to its installation.

Members of the Ryderwood community gathered around the Memorial Garden Wednesday for the dedication of a new flagpole at the site, as well as the ceremonial retirement of unserviceable American flags.

Led by members of VFW Post 7010, as well as AmVets, credit for installation of the flag was given largely to resident Sharon Anderson, who has been in charge of maintaining the Memorial Garden for the last few years.

“It was presented to me that the VFW would like to have a new flagpole,” she said. “And they were going to put it up where it was before, and then they decided they would like to put it in the garden…I was honored that they wanted it in the Memorial Garden.”

Anderson said her husband, Gary Anderson, took lead of building the flagpole itself and was aided by resident Bob Haugan, with the two pouring the concrete base and installing the lighting for the flag.

During the dedication ceremony, Post 7010 Commander Gary Bennett explained around $2,000 in donations bad been gathered to install the flagpole, which uses a telescoping design, and said $500 of those funds had come from proceeds gathered during recent community breakfasts held on the weekends.

“When you go to those breakfasts, those profits, they come back to Ryderwood,” he said.

Bennett also acknowledged the work of volunteers on the project, stating they did “quite a job” and their efforts were appreciated.

“This flag, which we honor today, is the emblem of our being, our power, our pride, and purpose as a nation,” he said during the dedication ceremony, stating the meaning of the flag needs to be passed down from generation to generation.

After the dedication, a number of flags were presented for ceremonial retirement as they had become unserviceable while being flown in the course of their normal functions.

Bennett explained Post 7010 routinely accepts donations of unserviceable flags to be retired, usually through burning or burial, and held their last retirement ceremony two years ago, but may begin holding them every year due to the volume of donations.

Members of VFW Post 7010, in Ryderwood, present unserviceable flags for retirement during a ceremony Wednesday at the community park. Post Commander Gary Bennett said the VFW follows prescribed methods for retiring the flags and, depending on the volume of flags received, hopes to be able to hold such ceremonies at least once per year.