On this day, we remember those who have died during service in the United States Armed Forces. I am grateful to the men and women who have paid the ultimate price while protecting our country as they fought to defend the rights and freedom of our citizens. These fallen soldiers are truly my heroes, and I took time today to remember and honor these selfless individuals.
“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself” —Joseph Campbell
This morning, I remembered something witnessed at one of the Disney parks as a special tribute to honor U.S. veterans for their service, dedication, and sacrifices made. The Flag Retreat is an event done at Disneyland and Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World daily.
On my trip to Disneyland this past March, it was the first time I witnessed it in person. To say that it is touching is an understatement. On a plaque right by Old Glory, Walt Disney himself is quoted saying, "Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America." At 5:00 p.m., the event begins promptly (be sure to check the daily schedule as this may change). During the Flag Retreat, the Disneyland Band performs and The Dapper Dans sing patriotic tunes. Each branch of the military is called up to the flagpole as its military song is played. The Color Guard/Disneyland Resort Security Honor Detail arrives and a special salute is given. This is immediately followed by the retiring of the flag for the night as it is lowered and folded.
This truly made me shed a few tears. It reminded me that our freedom is defended daily thanks to those men and women we were honoring on that day. They were able to stand beneath the flag they had sworn to protect while they saluted proudly. That said, it also reminded me of those who battled hard and didn't come home. My heart hurt for their families and friends. Like I said, I cried.
In honor of them all, I put together a video showing some photos and footage taken at the Flag Retreat ceremony. If you have a chance to witness this in person, you will be glad you did.
The experience is slightly different at the Magic Kingdom. While I have not yet attended it there, on a future visit, I have decided that it will be a mandatory part of my day's plan.
There, a veteran is selected earlier in the morning. He or she will participate in the ceremony at 5:00 p.m. (check the daily schedule for any time changes). Similar to what is done at Disneyland, the Philharmonic band plays and the Dapper Dans sing. At the end, the flag is presented to the Veteran of the Day and a short parade with the band takes place. In addition, the Veteran of the Day will receive a certificate and pin to commemorate the experience.
Thank you again to the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard veterans for continuing to protect our nation.
Those who have fought and died are not be forgotten. Today is set aside to remind us of those sacrifices made. May they continue to rest in peace.
Disney has been a part of Cheryl's life since 1975. She is married, and she has a son and two bonus children. They live in Northwest Arkansas with their two dogs.