By Spc. Monica K. Smith, CAB Public AffairsFebruary 26, 2009
Fort Stewart, GA -- Twice a day, on U.S. military posts around the world, time appears to stop as honor is rendered to the Colors. The Flag is raised or lowered while a bugle plays over the installation's speaker. All cars come to a stop, Soldiers salute and civilians place a hand over their hearts. Everyone is still, except one Soldier.
"It's my job to raise and lower the Flag," said Pvt. Jonathan Richie, member of Troop D, 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment. "It's an honor because it's a lot more than raising and lowering a flag. It's about the history of all the people who came before you - from present to the people you read about in history class."
The flag detail at Hunter Army Airfield consists of seven Soldiers who are charged with the responsibility of caring for the Colors and signaling the beginning and the end of the duty day.
"Our day cannot start until we recognize not only the men and women who have served before us but also realize what we can contribute," said Staff Sgt. Kendricks Fields, member of Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3/17 Cav., and NCOIC of the detail.
The Soldiers arrive at 6 a.m. to perform flag duties at the sound of Reveille which sounds at 6:30 a.m., signifying the beginning of the duty day. They return again at 4:30 p.m. to return the flag to its case when Retreat is played at 5 p.m., the signal for the end of the duty day. The detail lasts an entire month and also includes beautification tasks around Hunter Army Airfield.
"They're not here to get out of work," said Fields. "You get to work with fine gentlemen that have enthusiasm about the detail. This is their way of giving back to the nation."
Richie says being involved in the flag detail causes you to take time in your life to reflect on the contributions of others.
"You realize that we do this for all the people that sacrificed their lives," said Richie. "Integrity, loyalty, respect - all the Army values are put into this detail every day. It's definitely an honor and a privilege. There's a lot of pride in being part of that tradition every day, especially knowing that other people don't share the same freedoms that are represented in our flag."