Ripon Elementary School conducted a flag retirement ceremony Monday morning with 476 students looking on.
Ripon High School band members provided patriotic background music for the retirement ceremony for a school flag while members of the Ripon Post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars orchestrated the event.
The ceremony was opened with the Flag Salute performed by the marching Ripon High School color guard to the band’s rendition of the National Anthem, followed by two VFW members, Commander Jorge Velez and Marine First Sergeant Craig Moffat (ret), both standing in front of the student audience. They folded the flag stretched out between them military style. During the folding of the triangles, former American Legion Commander Ernie Tyhurst narrated the historic meanings of each of the folds from a lectern microphone.
The folded flag was presented to Ripon High sophomore and Eagle Scout from Troop 414 Zander Pittson by retired Marine First Sergeant Craig Moffat at the conclusion of the ceremony.
The final two songs presented by the Ripon High Band concluding the event were Amazing Grace and America the Beautiful.
All kindergarten through eighth grade classes were then escorted by their teachers over to the Ripon War Memorial at First and Locust streets to walk by the Veterans’ Wall to see the names of Ripon soldiers and sailors who had served in the military. The wall has special markings for those who gave their all for their country.
Principal Dana Phelps lauded sixth grade teacher Susan Taylor and one of her students, Seth Flores, who worked together to form a letter to the Ripon school board that was a prerequisite to getting the board’s approval for the Flag retirement event. Phelps said it started out as Flores’ idea
One of the sixth graders, Melanye Sanchez was quick to point out to fellow students the name of one of her classmate’s dads that appeared in white letters on the wall. “That’s Jack’s dad!” she said. “Carl A. Poortinga, U.S. Navy, 1991-2011.
Several of the classes stopped in front of the Veterans’ Memorial building to have a group picture taken with their teachers. Eagle Scout Zander Pittson was given a personal guided tour of the War Memorial building by an American Legion docent.
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