Carry the Flame, a nonprofit motorcycle group that rides in honor of veterans, service members and their families, will host a flame-passing ceremony, flag retirement and Rose Day ceremony 10 a.m. Saturday at Woodring Wall of Honor and Veterans Park, 1026 S. 66th.
Carry the Flame began in 2002 when a ceremonial torch, borrowed from the Special Olympics, was carried to the Rolling Thunder Candlelight Vigil on Memorial Day weekend in Washington, D.C., according to the group’s website. The flame was carried by and passed between Gold Star Mothers, Gold Star Wives, and the Blue Star Mothers of America.
That tradition continues on the group’s various appearances to honor veterans and their families, and on their annual motorcycle ride to Washington, D.C., which was completed in May.
On Saturday, the group will host a ceremonial passing of the torch at Woodring Wall of Honor, to give veterans and their family members an opportunity to honor service members’ sacrifices.
Following the flame ceremony, the Carry the Flame Riders will join with Patriot Guard Riders, another motorcycle group that honors veterans, for a flag retirement ceremony.
Any members of the public with American flags that are damaged or dilapidated can bring them to the ceremony Saturday for proper disposal, said Elaine Johns, executive director of Woodring Wall of Honor and Veterans Park.
A Rose Day service also will take place, giving members of the public a chance to lay roses along the Vietnam Memorial Wall. The ceremony started in the 1990s at the original Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., and takes place each Father’s Day weekend.
Johns said the Rose Day ceremony is unique in that it gives families an opportunity to honor not only those who died in the war, whose names are etched on the memorial, but also those who have since died from service-related causes, such as exposure to Agent Orange.
During a 10-year period of the Vietnam war, from 1961 to 1971, U.S. forces sprayed approximately 20 million gallons of herbicides over Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
The most common herbicide was known as Agent Orange, and it contained the chemical dioxin, which would later be discovered to cause a wide variety of cancers, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, neuropathy and Type-2 diabetes.
For more information on Woodring Wall of Honor and Veterans Park, visit http://woodringwallofhonor.com.