Flag gets a proper place

 COURTESY PHOTODerry veterans, from left, Paul Levesque and Richard Tripp show the flag that was donated to the local VFW for a proper retirement. The veterans approached the town's recreation department and gained permission for the banner to fly at Veterans Hall on West Broadway.

DERRY — This was one flag that needed a bit of extra care and respect.

That, according to local veterans, is why the donated banner is now set to fly on a local pole.

Veterans Richard Tripp and Paul Levesque are speaking out about a special flag that was brought to the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post home on Railroad Avenue.

The post regularly accepts worn, tattered and old flags all year long as part of an effort to "retire" the flags properly and with respect.

This particular flag, though, Levesque said, was different.

"It looked brand new, it was a casket flag," he said. "The stars were bright through the bag."

Levesque said he knew it wasn't an old flag and wanted to find a place for it to fly.

Levesque said the gentleman bringing in the 5-foot by 9-foot flag did not leave a name.

That led to a mission to find a local flagpole that might want to fly this special flag.

Tripp said he contacted the Derry Recreation Department to see if the pole standing in front of Veterans Hall on West Broadway might be a suitable spot for the flag.

"We (with Levesque) showed up and we told the story," Tripp said.

Receiving old, worn flags is a regular mission of local veterans, and often more than 1,000 flags could be collected in a year's time.

A special "retirement" ceremony is held every year around Flag Day in June, with local veterans handling the respectful disposal of the donated flags.

Tripp added he often sees old, tatted flags flying at private homes or businesses around town and he may stop and ask if he could give the flag a proper retirement.

Levesque doesn't know how long the flag may fly at Veterans Hall, but it's a special way to honor this one banner that once covered a respected veteran's coffin.

"Then we will retire it," Levesque said.


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