As St. Clair County resident Faye Pino turned the corner of the aisle at a local thrift store, a large multi-colored piece of fabric caught her eye as it draped off the shelf and onto the floor.
A closer inspection revealed it was a large American flag.
Now, to many shoppers that day, most of whom had already passed the tattered and weathered flag either stepping on it or rolling their buggy across it as it lay partially on the floor, it was just another flag, nothing particularly special or interesting about that apparently. Unless you’re retired Air Force Master Sargent Faye Pino, a Vietnam veteran with particularly interesting memories the sight of that flag brings back.
Master Sergeant Pino served as a combat field medic. She treated first hand the many injured servicemen who were wounded in battle. She tells of how so many of those soldiers, so young, so far from home, so far from loved ones thousands of miles away, who lay bleeding in a foreign jungle, scared half to death, found comfort seeing the red, white and blue waving as they landed. These young soldiers, wounded and bleeding, worried, stressed, and fearful, found peace when they saw the Stars and Strips flying proudly as they landed at the base hospital. To them that flag meant they were safe, that they were home, that they would be in good hands.
So many passed that flag that day at the thrift store but one soldier could not allow the flag that had brought so much comfort to our wounded and dying, to be so disrespected. She knew that flag had earned more respect than a lot of us who enjoy the freedom it represents but who take for granted.
Retired Air Force Master Sargent Pino took that flag to the counter and demanded to see the manager. There she educated both the management and the staff up one side and down the other like only a Master Sargent can, and taught them the proper way to handle and retire an American flag.
They were so grateful they sold Faye the flag at full price, sales tax included. That same flag will be properly retired with the respect it deserves in a Ceremony of Final Tribute at the Pinedale Shores Veteran's Lunch Sunday, November 10 at the Pinedale Shores Civic Center near Ashville at noon.
And if you would like to learn more about the proper etiquette and care of our flag and hear a presentation from Wayne Johnson on St. Clair Co. Veteran's Outreach activities, you can attend the Pinedale Shores Veteran’s Lunch on Sunday, Nov. 10 at noon where Mrs Pino will once again educate us but not in that special Master Sargent way, in a much more delicate way. Or if you have a flag that is no longer in a condition to represent the United States, you may bring it to the Pinedale Shores Veteran’s Lunch or even drop it off at the Veteran’s Home in Pell City where it will be retired with the dignity it has earned.
Pinedale Shores P.O.A., Inc. will host its 6th annual Veteran’s Day Lunch Sunday, Nov. 10, at noon at the Pinedale Civic Center in Pinedale Shores. Lunch, music, veteran camaraderie and a special Lion’s Club presentation on proper flag etiquette, care and disposal will be given by Lion’s Club member Mrs. Faye Pino. Wayne Johnson, St Clair Co. Veteran's Outreach, will also be on hand to update vets on those activities.
Lunch will be a choice of spaghetti, salad, garlic bread or ham, green beans, yams and a desert of choice with tea, coffee and water. Tickets for those who want to support our veterans are only $5.75 for adults and $3 for children. Veterans and their spouses dine free.
Currently, Lion's Club International has a promotion to waive entrance fees ($35) for any honorably discharged veteran wanting to join any Lion's Club.
Also, the 16 foot by 6 foot flag used in the flag etiquette demonstration will be retired with the respect it’s earned in a Ceremony of Final Tribute, the proper disposal of a worn and tattered flag.
Everyone is welcome to attend the lunch and ceremony. Purchase tickets by calling 205-594-5426.
Pinedale Shores is a neighborhood in St Clair County known locally as the “sparkle in the diamond that is our great St Clair County.”
If you would like more information, contact the office at Pinedale Shores 205-594-5426. Also if you have a flag that needs to be retired properly, you can drop it off at the POA office or at the Veteran’s Home in Pell City.