Contact: Joe Vargo, Perris Public Information Officer
Phone: 951-956-2120
jvargo@cityofperris.org

Perris Veterans Celebrate Flag Day

Perris City Councilman Mark Yarbrough and Mayor Pro-Tem Joanne Evans prepare to retire a U.S. flag during a ceremony at Miller-Jones Mortuary and Crematory in Menifee
Perris City Councilman Mark Yarbrough and Mayor Pro-Tem Joanne Evans prepare to retire a U.S. flag during a ceremony at Miller-Jones Mortuary and Crematory in Menifee.

A group of Perris veterans and elected officials celebrated Flag Day by burning flags in the manner proscribed by law.

The event, officially known as the “Ceremony for the Disposal of Unserviceable Flags,” took place at Miller-Jones Mortuary and Crematory in Menifee, which boasts a long-time relationship with veterans and military organizations.

Hundreds of torn and tattered, faded and frayed flags deemed inappropriate for display were burned while about 30 people observed. The flags were collected from individuals, civic groups and businesses in recent months.

Miller-Jones conducts two flag retirement ceremonies every year, one on Flag Day, the other on Veterans Day.

A team from the California Military Institute in Perris served as the Color Guard and Honor Guard and CMI cadet Raquel Torres presided over the brief ceremony.

Cadets from the California Military Institute in Perris performed Honor Guard and Color Guard duties
Cadets from the California Military Institute in Perris performed Honor Guard and Color Guard duties.

“A flag may be a flimsy bit of printed gauze or a beautiful banner of finest silk,” Torres recited from the event program. “Its intrinsic value may be trifling or great; but it’s real value is beyond price, for it is a precious symbol of all that we have worked for and lived for, and died for—a free nation of free men, true to the faith of the past, devoted to the ideals and practice of justice ,freedom and democracy.”

Perris Mayor Pro-Tem Joanne Evans, a former Marine, and City Councilman Mark Yarbrough represented Perris at the event. She said disposing of torn flags through ceremonial burning honors Old Glory and American ideals.

“It reminds us of why we do what we do and why our kids are in places like Afghanistan,” Evans said. “This is the honorable way to retiring faded flags. As far as I am concerned, it is the only way.”

Yarbrough said Tuesday was the first time he had ever witnessed a flag retirement ceremony. He said he was impressed by what he saw.

After the flags were suitably disposed of, the ashes were collected and buried near a veterans memorial
After the flags were suitably disposed of, the ashes were collected and buried near a veterans memorial.

“This country is about tradition,” he said. “It’s important we understand them and continue them.  To see the flag waving, to recite the Pledge of Allegiance fills me with pride for our country.”

The flags were burned one at a time in a fire pit on the grounds of the mortuary. Veterans or CMI cadets inspected them to make sure they were not suitable for display and lowered them into the flames. After the ceremony, the ashes were collected and buried at a memorial at the funeral home.

Members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 888 and American Legion Post 595, both of Perris, took part in the ceremony. Veteran Tim Moore said federal law mandates U.S. and state flags be retired by burning.

“Retiring the flag honorably is the way to honor the flag,” Moore said.