6/16/2017 8:18:00 PM WW II veteran honored in Elks ceremony
Jackson County Commissioner and U.S. Navy Reserves Command Master Chief Paul Haller (left) was as pleased to pin medals on local World War II veteran Doug Cosby as Cosby was to receive them. (Telegram Photo By Pete Wilson)
Flag Day was not just another day on the calendar in Jackson this past Wednesday, June 14 -- at least if you base it on two special unrelated events, which were conducted during the day.
On Wednesday evening, the Jackson Elks Lodge 466 conducted its annual Flag Day Services at Carl Dobbins Fidelity Hall in line with the fraternal order's longstanding love of patriotism and its attendant respect for the American flag and what it symbolizes.
Earlier in the day, the Jefferson Howe American Legion Post 81 demonstrated its respect for the flag by conducting a public Flag-Burning Ceremony at the Salt Lick Village Park next to the historic depot on East Broadway Street.
Elks Honor World War II Veteran
Instead of a keynote speech as is the custom, the local Elks chose to honor Jackson County World War II veteran Douglas Cosby. The 97-year-old Cosby served his country in France, Africa, Italy, Sicily and France. Jackson County Commissioner and U.S. Navy Reserves Command Master Chief Paul Haller presented Cosby with a shadowbox containing his medals and other war memorabilia. Haller also presented Cosby with a miniature set of his medals, which he actually pinned on the honoree.
Haller concluded by speaking directly to Cosby. "Thank you for what you did for all of us and for our country," he declared.
Two presentations were also made during the program from local government leaders. Coalton Mayor Kim Milliken read and presented a certificate of appreciation to Cosby. Also, Jackson City Council President Eric Brown, read Mayor Randy Heath's official proclamation recognizing and declaring Flag Day in the city and saluting the Elks for their commitment to respect and honor the flag.
Elks Lodge 466 Exalted Ruler Rod Bachtel served as emcee for a program which also included a recitation of the history of the flag by Lodge Secretary Don Hill with a response by Haller, the singing of The Star-Spangled Banner by Dr. Marla Haller, the leading of the Pledge of Allegiance by Boy Scouts Blake Sheeter and Max Bowman, the reading of an opening prayer by Toni Miller, and an introductory exercise involving Bachtel and other lodge officers.
Secretary Hill was also elated to present two $5,000 Elks grants to the Jackson County and Vinton County Boards of Developmental Disabilities. Jackson County Superintendent Nick Elliott and Vinton County board member Dave Gill were present to accept the grants.
Bachtel concluded by thanking Rhonda Baker for organizing the event and also invited all guests to take part a light buffet dinner. Indications are that the lodge will seriously consider honoring other local World War II veterans at future Flag Day Services.
Flag-Burning Ceremony Conducted
At the beginning of an abbreviated Flag-Burning Ceremony, American Legion Post 81 Commander George Kitchen explained that burning is the proper method of disposing of old and unserviceable American flags. He was pleased with the response from the public as an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 flags were burned following the program.
"We had a large outpouring," Kitchen remarked while thanking all those who supported the effort by turning in their flags.
Post 81 Chaplain Doug Johnson made a brief reading appropriate for the occasion, including information about June 14 also being the anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Army. An honor guard fired a 21-gun salute and Disabled American Veterans Chapter 45 Honor Guard member Charley Johnson played Taps.
This set the stage for the actual burning of flags, which was done in two large metal barrels.