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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 https://www.coloradogives.org/EstesParkMonument. 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.
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.
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 during open hours. 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, open to the public, to honor this important symbol of our nation.
The order of precedence when displaying military flags together is Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Space Force. The basic citation for this order is Department of Defense Directive 1005.8. For additional information see
The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag: “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”, should be rendered while standing at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. When not in uniform men should remove any non-religious headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should remain silent, face the flag, and render the military salute. Members of the Armed Forces not in uniform and veterans may render the military salute in the manner provided for persons in uniform.
(a) It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flag staffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.
(b) The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
(c) The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all weather flag is displayed.
(d) The flag should be displayed on all days, especially on:
(e) The flag should be displayed daily on or near the main administration building of every public institution.
(f) The flag should be displayed in or near every polling place on election days.
(g) The flag should be displayed during school days in or near every schoolhouse.
Can a flag that has covered a casket be displayed after its original use?
There are no provisions in the Flag Code to suggest otherwise. It would be a fitting tribute to the memory of the deceased veteran and his or her service to a grateful nation if the casket flag is displayed.
Can the U.S. flag be displayed in inclement weather?
The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, with the exception of an all-weather (nylon or other non-absorbent material) flag. However, most flags are made of all-weather materials.
What is the significance of displaying the flag at half-staff?
This gesture is a sign to indicate the nation mourns the death of an individual(s), such as death of the president or former president, vice president, Supreme Court justice, member of Congress, secretary of an executive or military department, etc. Only the president or a state governor may order the flag to be displayed at half-staff. The honor and reverence accorded this solemn act is quickly becoming eroded by those individuals and agencies that display the flag at half-staff on inappropriate occasions without proper authority to do so.
When the flag is not flown from a staff, how should it be displayed?
It should be displayed vertically, whether indoors or out, and suspended so that its folds fall free as though the flag were staffed. The stripes may be displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, and the union should be uppermost and to the flag’s own right (that is, to the observer’s left). When displayed in a window of a home or a place of business, the flag should be displayed in the same way (that is, with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street).
Can the flag be washed or dry-cleaned?
Yes. No provisions of the Flag Code prohibit such care. The decision to wash or dry-clean would depend on the material.
Are you required to destroy the flag if it touches the ground?
The Flag Code states that the flag should not touch anything beneath it, including the ground. This is stated to indicate that care should be exercised in the handling of the flag, to protect it from becoming soiled or damaged. You are not required to destroy the flag when this happens. As long as the flag remains suitable for display, even if washing or dry-cleaning is required, you may continue to display the flag as a symbol of our great country.
What is the proper method for folding the flag?
The Flag Code does not require any specific method. However, a tradition of folding has developed over time that produces a triangular-shaped form, like that of a three-corner hat with only the blue union showing.
May a person, other than a veteran, have his or her casket draped with the flag of the United States?
Yes. Although this honor is usually reserved for veterans or highly regarded state and national figures, the Flag Code does not prohibit this use.
What is the significance of the gold fringe seen on some U.S. flags?
Records indicate that fringe was first used on the flag as early as 1835. It was not until 1895 it was officially added to the national flag for all Army regiments. For civilian use, fringe is not required as an integral part of the flag, nor can its use be said to constitute an unauthorized addition to the design prescribed by statute. Fringe is used as an honorable enrichment only.
What is meant by the flag’s own right?
The “right” as the position of honor developed from the time when the right hand was the “weapon hand” or “point of danger.” The right hand, raised without a weapon, was a sign of peace. The right hand, to any observer, is the observer’s left. Therefore, as used in the Flag Code, the flag and/or blue field is displayed to the observer’s left, which is the flag’s “own right.”
Is it proper to fly the U.S. flag at night?
The Flag Code states it is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flag staffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed 24 hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness. The American Legion interprets “ proper illumination” as a light specifically placed to illuminate the flag (preferred) or having a light source sufficient to illuminate the flag so it is recognizable as such by the casual observer.
What should be the position of the flag when displayed from a staff in a church, public auditorium or other public meeting place, whether indoors or outdoors, on platform, or on the floor at ground level?
When used on a speaker’s platform, the flag, if displayed flat, should be displayed above and behind the speaker. When displayed from a staff in a church, public auditorium or meeting place, the flag should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergyman’s or speaker’s right as he faces the audience. Prior to the Flag Code changes in 1976, the display procedure was somewhat different. Now, the staffed flag should always be placed to the right of the speaker (observer’s left) without regard to a platform or floor level.
What are the penalties for the physical desecration of the flag?
There are currently no penalties for the physical desecration of the flag. The American Legion and other members of the Citizens Flag Alliance continue working toward securing a constitutional amendment to protect the flag from physical desecration.
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.