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Flag retirement ceremony

PFC Joseph A. Miracle (click for larger version)
May 25, 2011 - When Ortonville Cub Scouts Pack 531 hosts a flag retirement ceremony at 7 p.m., May 29, at the Ortonville Cemetery—the event will have a special meaning to a local military family.

"I want the young boys to understand the flag means a lot to many people—whether veterans, citizens, or in our case, it means a lot since we lost our son," said Glenn Miracle, father of Army PFC Joseph A. Miracle, who was killed while serving in the Middle East. "The flag stands for our country, the values of our life. It's good—through scouts—they are teaching our youth to be patriotic."

The scouts will retire a flag the Miracle family flew at their home immediately after Joseph died, along with several smaller flags displayed at his gravesite.

Joe Miracle grew up in Ortonville, the youngest of seven children. The 2003 Brandon High School graduate signed up for the Army in April 2006 and was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne), 173rd Airborne Brigade, Vicenza, Italy. He had been in Afghanistan for just 35 days when he was killed July 5, 2007 from wounds sustained by hostile enemy fire in the Watapor Valley of Kunar Province, Afghanistan. His fellow soldiers have told his family the reason they got out alive was because of actions Miracle took when they were surprised by 30-40 insurgents. Joseph was given several awards posthumously, including the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and NATO Badge.

"The flag, too, represents all those that first fought for us to become a nation and continue to defend our country. Especially now, it's important to uphold our flag," said Glenn. "Today we all hear so much negative about our country—it's good they are patriotic and there's are people today that believe in our country. Somewhere there's military personnel, to stand ready for our country. There are many out there that would take our nation down, if not for our armed services standing guard."

The public is welcome to bring flags they wish to retire at the ceremony.

Joe Tomei, Den Leader and Assistant Cub Master from Pack 531 which represents about 70 youth in first through fifth grade, said the flag retirement will be a learning experience.

"This is not just about flag etiquette, rather, once the scouts get involved, the memory will carry on a lifetime."

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