Friday, January 28, 2011

The Flag Retreat Ceremony

By far, my favorite part of a day at Disneyland is the Flag Retreat Ceremony. It is held in Town Square at the very front of the park, and if you've never seen really must take the time one day. Right now you can see it at 4:30PM every day.

Why do I love it so much? Well, I love traditions. I love "pomp and circumstance." I just think it's really special that Disneyland honors the military every day in this way.

The ceremony starts out with the Disneyland band. Usually they come down Main Street (right now they come from somewhere else due to construction going on) and end up around the flag. They play several patriotic songs and the Dapper Dans join them. Right before they lower the flag, they play each branch of the military's service song. As each branch's service song is played, any current or past member of that branch is welcome to step forward and stand around the flag and be recognized for their service. Three service members perform the ceremony of lowering the two flags and folding them. Everyone then sings "The Star Spangled Banner" and "God Bless America" along with the Dapper Dans. Inevitably, every time I watch this ceremony, I get teary eyed. It's emotional, and you just can't help it!

There are a few things that make the ceremony extra special to me. One is that there is a veteran who goes to the Park every single day, to watch and take part in the ceremony. He takes great pride in being a part of it, as well he should since he served in both the Marine Corps and the Coast Guard. The other special thing to me is Ernie, a Gunny in the Marine Corps. He is there most days to actually lower the flag, and he goes around the circle of benches around the flag before everything starts to shake everyone's hand. He is just a very exceptional man, and if you have the chance to meet him, you should.

The most special part of this ceremony is that it allowed me to see my husband as a Marine for the first time. He served in the Marine Corps for 9 years before we met so the only time I've seen him as a Marine is in pictures. It meant a lot to me to see him up there and I was very proud of him. I know he did it for me, not for himself, but that doesn't make it any less special. Thank you Disneyland for giving me this rare opportunity.  And for making me cry :)

The Dapper Dans

Hy husband is on the far left, in black
Ernie is on the right, lowering the flag

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