Kadena honors National Flag Day

by Senior Airman Stephen G. Eigel, 18th Wing Public Affairs
Kadena Air Base

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- The Air Force Sergeants Association hosted a National Flag Day ceremony in front of the 18th Wing headquarters here at 4:30 p.m. June 15.

People across the U.S. celebrate National Flag Day June 14 each year to honor the U.S. flag and to commemorate the flag's adoption by resolution of the 2nd Continental Congress on that day in 1777.

President Obama addressed the importance of the national recognition in a June 12 proclamation.

"For more than 200 years, the American flag has been a proud symbol of the people of our Nation and the values for which we stand," he said. "In hues of red, white, and blue, it reflects centuries of struggle and sacrifice - a constant reminder of our journey from 13 colonies to a Nation united in freedom and liberty, and of the patriots and pioneers who fought for these ideals at home and abroad."

During remarks at Kadena's ceremony, Col. Christopher Amrhein, 18th Wing vice commander, explained that during his career he had primarily flown Air Mobility Command aircraft that have the U.S. flag prominently displayed on their tails.

"When I was a young captain, I always thought yes, that represents the United States of America wherever we go; then one day I had a senior mentor pull me aside and say 'captain that doesn't represent the United States of America - that is the United States of America,'" Amrhein said.

This year, Kadena's Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts Pack 102 placed unserviceable flags into a collection barrel for proper disposal. The last flag to be placed in the collection barrel was the 18th Wing's U.S. flag, decommissioned by the Kadena Base Honor Guard June 15. The flag represents all of the flags collected that are officially retired from service today.

After the ceremony, the fire department transported the unserviceable flags to an alternate location for the final tribute to the flags to be made.

Technical Sgt. Michael Collard, 18th Civil Engineer Squadron fire protection craftsman and emcee for Kadena's event, said the U.S. flag has served as a source of pride and inspiration for millions.

"The flag flies in the heart of every military member who has served and who is serving our great nation," Collard said.

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