Sun City Security Patrol treats flags with reverence

There’s a somber ceremony that’s performed twice a year by the Sun City Summerlin Security Patrol. It’s called flag retirement day, and it’s a highly respectful occasion, as you might expect. Equally important, it must be done in a proper manner when any flag of the United States becomes weather-beaten or otherwise tattered.

Traditionally, the first such occasion is held in May, in advance of Memorial Day, and with the assistance of Boy Scout Troop 912. The second ceremony, which involves only members of Security Patrol, occurs in late October, in advance of Veterans Day.

“The ceremony is a Sun City Security Patrol thing, and we take it very seriously, with all the respect that our flag deserves,” said longtime Security Patrol member Adrian Cole. He noted that both national holidays are days when a fair share of patriotism touches the hearts of most of us, and for good reasons.

According to Dorothy Macchio, the Patrol’s historian, the first flag retirement ceremony conducted in Sun City was performed jointly by Security Patrol and the Boy Scout troop on May 10, 2003.

So on or about Dec. 7 is as good a time as any to talk about how well-worn representations of Old Glory are being properly disposed in Summerlin. And for the benefit of anyone who doesn’t recall what happened Dec. 7, 1941, that was the day untold numbers of proudly displayed Stars and Stripes were unceremoniously destroyed, in addition to other havoc, during the sneak bombing attack on Pearl Harbor, which precipitated the start of U.S. involvement in World War II.

“We try to treat the retirement of flags with all the dignity it deserves,” explained Security Patrol Chief Dick Clark. The patrol consists of 235 Sun City residents who contribute their time, working four-hour shifts, to keep a constant eye on the community.

“People of Sun City know they can bring torn, tattered or weather-beaten flags to us for proper disposal,” Clark added. “We accumulate them and store them in our building. Then at every retirement ceremony we might have anywhere from 200 to as many as 400 tattered or torn flags. We burn them in an appropriate and solemn manner.”

“Appropriate” means that eight to 10 of the flags are burned at one time in an 8-foot barbecue grill while a recording of all four verses of “The Star-Spangled Banner” is played. Typically, the pledge to the flag is performed to start the ceremony, followed by several patriotic readings pertaining to Old Glory.

“When the Boy Scout troop comes for the spring flag retirement, we let them do most of the patriotic readings,” Clark said. He noted that nearly 80 people, including Sun City residents, Patrol members and Boy Scouts, usually attend the May ceremony. “We had about 40 Patrol members at the most recent ceremony, on Oct. 21,” he added. Refreshments of pizza and soda drinks were provided by the Patrol.

The ceremony has always been conducted in the Sun City community picnic area, just behind Desert Vista Community Center and diagonally opposite the offices of Security Patrol. The Patrol’s quarters are at the far end of the Desert Vista parking area, at 10362 Sun City Blvd.

“We want to make it known that we have the greatest respect for our flag, and as such we will accept American flags for retirement from anyone, regardless of whether they live in Sun City or anywhere else,” Clark emphasized.

He said flags that must be retired can be brought either to the Patrol’s main office, which is open 24 hours every day, or to any of its three substations, which are open from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. every day. Substations are at the entrances to Sun City, at Lake Mead and Sun City boulevards, Lake Mead and Del Webb boulevards, and Rampart and Del Webb boulevards.

Herb Jaffe was an op-ed columnist and investigative reporter for most of his 39 years at the Star-Ledger of Newark, New Jersey. His most recent novel, “Double Play,” is available. Contact him at

Las Vegas charter school excels in areas of greatest need
Mater Academy Mountain Vista charter school students excel despite the fact that half the students are English language learners and all qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
People in Mesquite deal with a massive power outage
People in Mesquite respond to a major power outage in the area on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New MLK freeway onramps
How to navigate the trio of new freeway onramps from Martin Luther King Boulevard. (Mick Akers/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Extreme weather closes Scenic Loop in Red Rock Canyon
High winds and flooding closed the Scenic Loop in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area Thursday. Minor flooding across Highway 159 caused drivers to slow, but didn't close the road. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Learning live-saving techniques in Stop the Bleed class
Leslie Shaffer, an AMR paramedic, shows how to control bleeding during a Stop the Bleed course at the Summerlin Library. The class is designed to teach anyone how to control and stop life-threatening bleeding. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mount Charleston Gets Heavy Snow, Fog
Mount Charleston saw heavy snow today, and fog in lower elevations as a cold front swept across the Las Vegas Valley. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tourists enjoy rain in downtown Las Vegas
Tourists break out the umbrellas. But Brian Herting of Lincoln, Nebraska, dons shorts and a T-shirt, as he makes his way through downtown Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Thick fog blanketed Las Vegas Valley on Tuesday
Thick fog blanketed Las Vegas Valley on Tuesday. The National Weather Service.forecast called for a 50 percent chance of rain. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Time lapse video of fog covering the Strip
The Las Vegas Strip is shrouded in fog Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Tony Spilotro's Las Vegas home for sale — VIDEO
The former Las Vegas home of Chicago mob enforcer, Tony Spilotro, is now for sale. Spilotro, who was portrayed by Joe Pesci in the film Casino, is the original owner of the home at 4675 Balfour Drive, built in 1974. (Samia DeCubas/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Buffalo Drive And Mountains Edge Parkway Fatal
Las Vegas police and the Nevada Highway Patrol are investigating a fatal crash in the southwest valley on Saturday afternoon. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV's Joel Ntambwe on his play
UNLV forward Joel Ntambwe talks about his play at this point in the season. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Sam Schmidt chats about hectic off-season
IndyCar team owner Sam Schmidt and lead driver James Hinchcliffe chat about the hectic off-season at the SpeedVegas high-performance driving facility outside of Las Vegas, Nevada, on January 10, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
R-J's Mark Anderson on UNLV's victory
Review-Journal sports reporter Mark Anderson recaps UNLV's victory at New Mexico. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
UNLV's Noah Robotham on the win at New Mexico
UNLV guard Noah Robotham talks about winning at New Mexico on Jan. 8, 2019. (Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV's Kris Clyburn on big 3 vs. New Mexico
UNLV guard Kris Clyburn talks about his key 3-pointer against New Mexico. (Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Marvin Menzies on beating New Mexico
UNLV basketball coach Marvin Menzies talks about UNLV's win at New Mexico on January 8, 2019. (Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New HOV Ramp Scheduled to Open in March
New HOV ramp scheduled to open in March of 2019.
American Preparatory Academy part of charter school growth in Las Vegas
American Preparatory Academy in Las Vegas has a waiting list of students who want to attend. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Wheelchair tournament at UNLV
Cesar Robledo talks about wheelchair basketball and what it means for players to compete during the Wheelchair Basketball Division I-II Tournament at UNLV in Las Vegas, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019.
Snow in Henderson on New Year's Eve morning
Light snow flurries in Anthem Highlands in Henderson on Monday morning, the last day of 2018.
Marvin Menzies on UNLV's trip to Hawaii
UNLV basketball coach Marvin Menzies talks about the upcoming trip to Hawaii. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Raiders Stadium Timelapse
Construction on the new Raiders stadium continues in Las Vegas.
Pinecrest Academy Horizon principal wins Milken Educator Award
Tony Sanchez on UNLV's recruiting class
UNLV football coach Tony Sanchez talks about his early signing class. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The Magical Forest at Opportunity Village
Opportunity Village's Magical Forest added 1 million lights and a synchronized music show visible from all over the forest this year. The holiday attraction, which began in 1991, has a train, rides, food and entertainment along with the light displays. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Siegel Cares delivers bagels to families in need
Since Thanksgiving, Mark Lenoir of Siegel Cares, has been delivering leftover Bagelmania bagels to families staying at the Siegel Suites.
Dan Barnson steps down
Arbor View football coach Dan Barnson stepped down Friday after 12 seasons at the helm. Under Barnson, the Aggies won 104 games and became one of the top programs in Las Vegas. The Aggies went 12-2 in 2018 and won a region championship for the first time in program history. Barnson loves Friday nights, but said the 12-month commitment was getting exhausting.
NFR 2018 Highlights
NFR 2018 highlights from every round of this years rodeo.
NFR 2018 Round 10 Highlights
NFR 2018 Round 10 Highlights of the 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo from the Thomas & Mack in Las Vegas, Nevada. (CBS Sports Network/PRCA)
Tony Sanchez wraps up the UNLV season
UNLV football coach Tony Sanchez wraps up the season. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
News Headlines
Herb Jaffe Video
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like