Preston Elks to hold 9-11 memorial events | Local News | hjnews.com

2022-09-03 01:26:18 By : Ms. Alice Alice

Michelle and Rod McNeely of the Preston Elks have collected numerous American flags for a flag retirement ceremony to be held along with other 9-11 memorial events on Saturday, Sept. 10 in Preston.

Michelle and Rod McNeely of the Preston Elks have collected numerous American flags for a flag retirement ceremony to be held along with other 9-11 memorial events on Saturday, Sept. 10 in Preston.

On Saturday, Sept. 10, the Preston Elks Lodge will have their second annual 9-11 Memorial Remembrance starting with a parade at 12 p.m., following the same route as the Festival of Lights on State Street ending at Preston City Park. Veterans and first responders are invited to participate in the parade. There will be an opening ceremony following the parade.

The public is invited to attend the event. Throughout the day there will be a free barbeque, vendors, entertainment, education, films about 9-11, DIY projects for children, and an American flag retirement ceremony at 4:30 p.m.

Preston Elks Lodge Chaplain Michelle McNeely and her husband, Rod, are the members from the Preston Elks Lodge who pick up retired American flags from the Preston Police Station, Valley Wide bins, and a retirement flag bin at Alta Bank in Franklin County.

The McNeelys didn’t realize how many flags there were going to be. “There are boxes of them,” stated Michelle.

They mentioned their finding of the large number of flags to Elks Lodge member Todd Goodsell, who is also the owner and director of Franklin County Funeral Home in Preston.

Goodsell shared with the McNeelys that he was recently on a conference call with a funeral home owner on the east coast and the subject came up about the cremation of veterans and the use of retired American flags. That funeral home owner had started to use retired flags to drape the cremation containers of veterans for the cremation process.

“The owner said he collects retired American flags and uses them to drape the deceased during the cremation process. He drapes the best flags available on the cremation container of those veterans who choose to be cremated,” Goodsell said. “In thinking about what he said, even though some of the flags are a little beat up and torn, it really set home to me that a veteran’s life may have been a little beat up, too, like the flag.”

For years, whenever Todd has picked up a veteran who had passed away, he drapes the cot with a flag.

“The flag represents the years they served as a veteran,” he said.

Goodsell has accepted some of the retired flags from Michelle and Rod McNeely.

“Now I have started to do the same for the veteran who chooses cremation. I sort through the flags I receive from the McNeelys and cover the cremation container with the best flag I have for those veterans who have chosen to be cremated. The flag stays with the veteran and in reality, becomes part of them in the end.”

Michelle said: “It was very touching to me to hear that Todd uses the retired American flags for cremation. It moves me to understand the purpose of where the flags go and what they are used for.”

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