Ida-torn US flags receive fiery farewell along Veterans Boulevard


METAIRIE, Louisiana (WGNO) – In a tradition started by the American Legion in the 1930s, the “dignified destruction” of unusable American flags took place Saturday evening at a 55-year-old family business along Veterans Boulevard in Metairie.

An American Flag removal ceremony was held at Bergeron Automotive and was featured by local American Idol star Faith Becnel, who sang the national anthem ahead of the flag cutting and burning ceremony, followed dozens more that were torn and torn by Hurricane Ida the last time around. month.

“Really, there’s something special about singing the national anthem and everyone talking about the meaning of the flag,” Becnel told WGNO. “It’s really amazing, you don’t hear this story about the meaning of the flag every day.

“It’s super powerful and I’m always happy to be a part of something with the national anthem.”

The event was designed by Bergeron Auto sales manager Thomas Wyant Jr, who spoke passionately of his desire to honor flags left unusable by the storm, just as many were damaged 16 years earlier at the date Ida made landfall.

“When Hurricane Ida hit, I know we did it for Katrina when I was a lot younger, and it was just something I really love to do,” said Wyant, who introduced the retirement ceremony for third-generation dealership owner McLean Bergeron. .

Ida-torn US flags bid their centuries-old farewell along Veterans Boulevard (Photo: Aaron S. Lee | WGNO)

“We wanted to do something that really commemorates freedom and honors freedom,” Bergeron said. “So I’m happy [Thomas] got the idea, You know, the anniversary of 9/11 – that was definitely important – but we were facing the storm. Thus, any flags that may have been donated from the storm were used to honor this event, as well as our freedom. “

Friends, families, patriots and firefighters from the Jefferson Parish Fire Department were on hand to watch members of the local Civilian Air Patrol lower each flag, one by one, into a flaming fire barrel of 50 gallons.

“I’m the commander of a civilian air patrol squadron called the Pontchartrain Cadet Squadron, so we have 12-18 year olds in our program, and we do 85% of all search and search missions. rescue inland, ”said the retired air force. veteran, Lt. Col. William M. Hunton.

“We do a lot for the community, we do a lot for America and it was an honor when we were asked to help at this ceremony tonight to properly remove the flags damaged in Hurricane Ida.”

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