On June 10, 2017, The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite – Valley of Orlando continued the tradition of holding an Annual Flag Retirement Ceremony, which is sponsored by the Knights of St. Andrew.
In additions to retiring 9,613 flags, this year’s program was highlighted by a brief history of the Medal of Honor and their recipients. After a chronological history of the Medal of Honor, a video was shown where recipient, MSgt. Roy Benavidez told the story behind his medal as well as his belief that all men are equal and pride he has for the United States of America.
The Orlando Scottish Rite was honored to have back some of their “regular” participants:
- Oak Ridge High School JROTC performed the POW/MIA presentation.
- Seminole County Sheriff Honor Guards presented the colors.
- VFW Post 4287 performed the 21-gun salute.
- Brother Robert Gravelle for the donation of the flags and display boxes for presentation to the honorees.
- The Knights of St. Andrew Honor Guard for standing guard over the flags during the ceremony.
- Orlando Valleys kitchen, sound, lighting, and stage crew.
The Orlando Scottish Rite would be remiss if we did not also take a moment to thank some of the “new” participants:
- Flag World for their use as a donation center as well as donating the new flags for outside the Valley
- Brother Reginald Lyle for playing the bagpipes
- Impact/Bahia Drum and Bugle Corps for their music
This year we were once again honored to pay tribute to our first responders. The Valley of Orlando spent months soliciting nominations from agencies in the six counties. During our Flag Ceremony, we were honored to present six (6) recipients with a Certificate of Appreciation as well as a shadowbox displaying a U.S. Flag which was flown over the United States Capital Building. In addition, we were honored to recognize a Pearl Harbor Survivor who was there to observe the ceremony and honor the flag of the United States of America. He was presented a U.S. Flag shadowbox and received a standing ovation.
The event was well attended by not only Masons, but also our valued community. We would like to send a thank you to Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma and Volusia County Sheriff Michael Chitwood for being there and participating in presenting the recognition awards for their respective recipients.
The feedback from the visitors and brethren was that this event continues to be a sterling example of how Scottish Rite Masons have a respect for our fraternity, our community and our country!
Trustee, Scottish Rite Foundation of Florida, USA Inc.
Secretary, Knights of St. Andrew
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others is immortal.”