KINGSBURG - Hundreds of people gathered on the field and home side of Vikings Stadium for the town’s annual Independence Day Celebration at Kingsburg High School on Wednesday, July 3.

Residents enjoyed food from several local eateries and a fireworks show to cap off the night, but this year’s event marked a special moment for the Kingsburg Boy Scouts Troop #392. Before the fireworks began, the boy scouts, along the Kingsburg VFW #6152, retired a United States 9/11 Memorial Flag from Fresno-based company Pelco.

“It gives the boys an opportunity to show their patriotism and reverence toward the country,” Boy Scouts #392 parent volunteer Jay Phillips said. “It gives the community an opportunity to see how the flag should be displayed and properly retired.”

With the assistance of residents - some of who served in the military - helped carried the 25-foot wide and 45-foot long flag across the home side of the Rafer Johnson track all the way through the south end of the stadium, which had a fire set for a proper retirement.

Once the flag was placed in the fire, the VFW honored the Memorial Flag with a 21-gun salute, followed by the playing of “taps.”

“I thought it was such a blessing that the Kingsburg scouts are given this flag and we’re able to retire it for the community and for all those who passed away in the 9/11 tradegy,” Philips said.

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For Kingsburg assistant scoutmaster Eric Hirschfield, who served in the Navy, retiring the Memorial Flag holds special meaning to him and thought it was a vital moment for the scouts.

“It’s a very proud thing for us to be able to handle this flag that did come from the Pelco Memorial,” Hirschfield said.

The Memorial Flag was one of two American flags donated to the scouts. Phillips said the other flag was given to the Kingsburg Fire Department, who will display it on it’s new ladder truck that is 100 feet. The flag that the KFD received is 45 feet long and 25 feet wide.

After the retirement ceremony, the stadium lights turned off and Independence Day fireworks began.

The fireworks illuminated the sky with patriotic music playing on the stadium’s speakers. The event was hosted by the Kingsburg Chamber of Commerce.

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Jeremiah Martinez can be reached at 559-583-2413 or jmartinez@hanfordsentinel.com

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