This Memorial Day weekend, I enjoyed spending 24 hours in the Disneyland Resort for Disney’s Monstrous Summer All-Nighter event. Almost halfway through my time in the park, I stopped by Main Street for the Flag Retreat Ceremony. I always find the flag retreat meaningful when I get the chance to be present, and this time was particularly special. On the May 24th Flag Retreat Ceremony, veterans were recognized for their service to our country and two in particular were honored by name as they were wounded in battle.
One of those honored was a Purple heart recipient who walked proudly up to the flagpole with a noticeable limp. The Purple Heart is only awarded to those men and women who have been wounded or killed while serving in the U.S. military. Introduced as the “Badge of Military Merit” in 1782 by General George Washington, the Purple Heart is the nation’s oldest military award. After it’s introduction, it was ignored for almost 150 years until it was reintroduced on the 200th Anniversary of George Washington’s birth.
When the two wounded veterans were honored during the flagpole, I was not the only one who was touched. There was a lady across the way from me who I can only guess has or had family members serving in the military whom I noticed was moved to tears throughout the ceremony. As it was the beginning of Memorial Day weekend, the respect for these men and all those who serve our country was palpable.
After the Flag Retreat Ceremony ended and everyone started going their way, I noticed one of the Disney security present as the leader of the color guard, Ernie, coming back towards the flagpole with the folded U.S. Flag still in his hands. Curious of what would transpire, I stayed close and watched Ernie present the Purple Heart recipient with the flag and pose for a few pictures. I know Walt Disney was a patriotic person himself and I was proud to see how those at Disneyland kept this legacy alive. This was simply an amazing, touching moment that I was privileged enough to witness and on this Memorial Day I wish that all those who have served and who are serving in the armed forces are honored for their service, sacrifice and dedication to their country.