Everyone is invited to the ceremony to properly retire their worn, tattered or damaged flags during the event in which flags will be burned.
"This is an extremely moving, patriotic event and the proper way to retire Old Glory," said Wilson County sheriff's Sgt. James Lanier, who is also a retired veteran of the Marine Corps, Air Force and Army. "It's a time of remembrance and honor for those who have served or continue to serve America and their communities."
The event is held on the evening before Armed Forces Day, the week of Fallen Police Officers' Week and the week after Fallen Firefighters' Week. It is supported by the Vietnam Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legions, Wilson County Sheriff's Office, Rutherford County Sheriff's Department and all police, firefighter and emergency services in Wilson and Rutherford counties.
Ken Kackley, senior vice commander for the Lebanon VFW Post 5015, organized the annual event eight years ago at which time 35 flags were retired. Last year, 274 flags were retired.
"It's our way of saying thank you to our veterans who have given all, including the law enforcement, firefighters and emergency service members," Kackley said.
The ceremony will begin with the Young Marines retiring 13 flags, representing America's original 13 colonies. From there, the procession includes flag retirements by all veterans of wars, branches of service and law enforcement, firefighters and emergency service members. It concludes with anyone who would like to retire a flag in honor of a particular veteran and member of law enforcement, firefighter or emergency services.
"We invite everyone to attend," Kackley said. "It's quite an event."
Anyone who cannot attend the ceremony may drop a flag at the Wilson County Sheriff's Office, Wilson County Veteran's Office inside the Wilson County Courthouse, Lebanon Police Department or Uncle Pete's Truck Stop at the Watertown exit at Interstate 40. Email Kackley at SVCDR5015@aol.com to make other arrangements for flags to be picked up.