Promoting Patriotism


Flag Advocacy and Etiquette

On Flag Day, June 14, 1923, The American Legion and representatives of 68 other patriotic, fraternal, civic and military organizations met in Washington, DC for the purpose of drafting a code of flag etiquette. The 77th Congress adopted this codification of rules as public law on June 22, 1942. It is Title 4, United States Code Chapter 1.  Click on the link below for more information on appropriate flag usage.

The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.  Post 119 accepts flags for disposal in this manner.   You may bring them to the Post after three pm when we open, or put them in the large red, white and blue mail box near the entrance. Please note, commercial flags should have metal fixtures,  such as grommets removed. Each year on Flag Day, June 14, Post 119 holds a special flag-disposal ceremony to honor this important symbol of our nation. The Public is invited to this event.

The order of precedence when displaying military flags together is Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. The basic citation for this order is Department of Defense Directive 1005.8.  For additional information see and


Post 119 Honor Guard

Post 119 is proud to participate in a variety of Estes Park events by providing an Honor Guard for the event.   A primary purpose for an Honor Guard is to provide funeral honors for fallen comrades, and Post 119 provides this service on request for funerals and memorial services of local veterans. An Honor Guard may also serve as the "guardians of the colors" by displaying and escorting the national flag on ceremonial occasions.   Military Honor Guards also serve as ambassadors to the public at many sporting events, parades, and festivals. Post 119 regularly participates in the Estes Park Memorial Day and Veterans Day services, and posts flags at each veteran's grave in the Estes Park Memorial Gardens for those days. They also participate in the Rodeo parade and grandstand events, and other community events on request.  The Post 119 Honor Guard also holds a 9/11 Memorial event each year to honor the fallen and the first-responders from that historic event.  Scroll down this page to see photos from that event in 2017.

The Estes Park Veterans Monument


The Estes Park Veterans Monument

Legion Post 119 was proud to participate in the fundraising and planning of the Estes Park Veterans Monument, as well as in the dedication ceremonies.  The following article was written by Laurie Button for publication in the local press, and beautifully describes the process for this important addition to Estes Park.

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This past Saturday—Veterans Day—several hundred Estes Park residents and veterans braved the wind and cold to be part of a very special and historic event: dedication of the Estes Park Veterans Monument. From start to finish, the afternoon was truly a community event.

When Gary Brown, Dan Scace, and Dick Life of the Veterans Monument Committee began planning the day’s program they were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from local individuals and organizations. The trio had invited Boy Scout Troop 8 and American Legion Post 119 to serve as an honor guard and “Post the Colors” at the dedication. Before Brown, Scace, and Life knew it, the Legion’s 911 Explorers also wanted to play a role in the ceremony and local Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts were onboard as well. 

When they began to talk about music for the ceremony, the men were equally overwhelmed by the response. “We had hoped for a brass quartet,” said Life. “But twenty members of the Village Band asked to perform as well.” In the end, there was a full-fledged band conducted by Loren Johnson (US Air Force, retired).

And so it continued as the three committee members finalized the program.

LTC Gary R. Brown (US Army, retired) offered the welcome Saturday afternoon. He shared with everyone in attendance how it was exactly a year ago when World War II veteran Vern Mertz (US Navy, retired) announced plans to build a monument during a Veterans Day service at Estes Park’s Memorial Gardens. This was his dream.

“And look where we are today. Vern’s vision is now reality,” said LTC Brown. “What is truly amazing about this monument is that it was built entirely by contributions made by you, the citizens of the Estes Valley.”

After the “Posting of the Colors” by Scout Troop 8 and American Legion Post 119, the National Anthem was sung a cappella by Ron Ball (US Marine Corps veteran). Larry Carpenter (US Army Korean War veteran) led everyone in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Rev. Hal Irvine (US Army, 82nd Airborne veteran) offered the Invocation. All are Estes Park residents.

There were many memorable moments during the day’s celebration, one of the most meaningful was recognition of all the veterans and Gold and Blue Star families in attendance. Commemorative Veterans Monument Challenge Coins were awarded to each of them.  

Individuals present who were instrumental in making the monument a reality were also introduced, including sculptor Daniel Glanz; Joe Calvin and John Brostron (Thorp and Associates P.C.); Gary and Kris Hazelton (Estes Park News); Mike Lynch (CEO of Western Heritage and a US Army veteran); Don Darling (Darling Enterprise), Steve Fry (electrician), Bob Pavlish (Cornerstone Concrete), and Kent Smith (Smith Signs). Members of the Town Board of Trustees present were also recognized and thanked for their support. They included Bob Holcomb, Wendy Koenig, Ward Nelson, Ron Norris, and Cody Walker. Northern Colorado Honor Flight and the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado were also cited for their support of the endeavor. A complete list of the many contributors and donors will appear in a future issue. 

The Veterans Monument Committee was honored to have Col. Scott Sherman (Chief of Staff, Colorado National Guard) as a guest, who offered his thoughts about the monument and Veterans Day.

While not able to attend, Mertz sent a heartfelt letter that was read from the podium by his son-in-law Craig Belshe. 

American Legion Post 119 has supported the monument project from the beginning. Commander Terry Rizutti (US Marine Corps and Purple Heart recipient for service in Vietnam) talked about the Post’s commitment to the Estes Park community and appreciation that the monument is now a reality.

Following the “Statement of Purpose of the Monument” presented by Daniel R. Scace (Brig. Gen. United States Air Force/Connecticut Air National Guard), Estes Park Mayor Todd Jirsa spoke before unveiling the monument and the plaques mounted on boulders surrounding it. They represent each of our nation’s military branches: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, National Guard, and Navy.

“This monument would not have been possible without the support of the Town of Estes Park,” said LTC Brown. Special thanks were also extended to Town employees Frank Lancaster, Greg Muhonen, and Brian Berg.

Perhaps the most poignant segments of the afternoon happened near the end of the dedication. As a prelude to presenting the flags of each military branch and their histories, Capt. Life (US Navy retired) explained the meaning of the bald eagle and read a tribute to “Old Glory.”

The final piece of the program was an “American Flag Folding Ceremony.” This is a ceremony of respect for our flag. It is conducted not only at military funerals but at retirement ceremonies recognizing the service of individuals to our nation. 

Saturday’s presentation was narrated by Estes Park resident, Commander Kendra L. Ryan, currently serving in the US Naval Reserve, and performed by the active duty Honor Guard from the Navy Information Operations Command, Buckley AFB, Denver.

LTC Johnson and Deb Bialeschki honored all veterans by playing “Taps” and Rev. Irvine offered the Benediction to conclude the ceremony. 

The Veterans Monument Committee began its fundraising efforts last spring. The campaign will continue until December 1. While the group has raised more than enough to construct the monument, all remaining funds will be dedicated to its maintenance for future generations. If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution, you may do so online via credit card at An automatic receipt and tax letter are provided. Donations may also be made by check. They should be made payable to the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado and mailed to Estes Park Veterans Monument Committee, C/O Gary Brown, PO Box 778, Estes Park, Colorado 80517. 

Members of the committee are: Hon. Gary R. Brown, Chairman; Vern Mertz, Vice Chairman; Carey Stevanus, Vice Chairman; Ed Acela; Craig Belshe; Bob Brunson; Laurie Button; Larry Carpenter; Bill Howell; Dick Life; Hugh McTeague; Catherine Moon; Terry Rizzuti; Dan Scace; and Dr. Bruce Woolman.