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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tip Tuesday: Honoring our veterans

Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!

As Veterans' Day approaches, I wanted to take a moment and mention a brief ceremony that takes place at the Magic Kingdom each day promptly at 5 p.m. It's called the "Flag Retreat" and it is a ceremony where the United States flag located in Town Square is lowered, folded and taken away for the night.

Each day, a "Veteran of the Day" is selected who accompanies the WDW band and security service to lower and fold the flag. Before the actual lowering, the Main Street Band plays several patriotic tunes. The veteran of the day joins the band and the WDW security service in marching from the Main Street Train Station to the main flagpole at the center of Town Square.

After a bit more music, the band surrounds the flagpole area and plays the national anthem as the flag is slowly lowered and then folded.

After the flag has been properly folded, it is presented to the veteran and there is a quick photo opportunity. The veteran's military service is announced to the crowd and the veteran then carries the flag with the WDW security service to the Exposition Hall where the flag is put away until the next day (after a few more photos).

The veteran is given a special pin commemorating the event (it's interesting to note that the veteran is asked not to sell or trade the pin, but to keep it) as well as a certificate noting that he or she was the veteran of the day.

In all, the flag retreat ceremony runs a little less than 10 minutes and it's a nice way to show honor and respect for our nation's flag (once again to my international friends, please pardon my bit of nationalism here).

You may be wondering how you can become the "Veteran of the Day" and participate in the flag retreat ceremony. Well, it's mostly luck, but you can improve your odds by simply asking. If you happen to be at the Magic Kingdom at rope drop, head straight to Guest Services at Town Hall and ask if the veteran of the day has been selected. If not, you have someone to recommend. The veteran doesn't have to make the request in person, a friend or family member can do so. There's no guarantee you (or your friend/family member) will be selected, but your stand a decent chance, so it's worth trying.

See for yourself! You can see photos and watch video of the flag retreat ceremony from's Jack Spence.

I hope you will take a moment to remember, honor and thank veterans this Veterans' Day. These people have made incredible sacrifices (some the ultimate sacrifice) to keep freedom and liberty alive so that we all can enjoy a wonderful place like Walt Disney World.

To any readers who are vets, my most heartfelt thanks to you for serving our nation! You are true American heroes. To those readers who have lost veterans, you have my most heartfelt sympathies. I join you in remembering those who gave their lives to defend this nation.

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