Editor’s Notebook: Seal Beach Flag Ceremony

David N. Young

Surrounded by military installations, it’s no secret that Seal Beach, in many ways, is a military town. So it might be a good idea to have a regular “Flag Ceremony” here similar to those held in some nearby cities like Orange.

Patriotism, thank goodness, is not left or right of the political spectrum. Sadly, it is one of the few remaining emotions that unites the citizens of America. We believe strongly that we must, in every way possible, explore opportunities to find common ground among all of our citizens.

There are few symbols that evoke deep emotions of unity as the stars and stripes of the American flag, so why should we not take every opportunity to thank and show respect to the men and women who serve?

For many years, Bill Thomas has graciously reported for the Sun on military and other issues. More recently, retired Los Al history teacher Mike Pazeian has worked with Bill and on his own, so they can bring more veteran stories to our readers.

Recently, Michael attended a “flag ceremony” in the city of Orange in which veterans, service members, law enforcement officers and other public servants watched with pride.

The ceremony begins with a four to five-minute medley of top armed forces songs (Anchors away, Marine Hymn, etc.) representing each branch of the military. The flag is then lowered solemnly with ‘taps’ playing in the background. The emotional 24-note bugle call “taps” (began during the Civil War) is often the last sounds heard by families of the fallen and is now considered to be the “last measure of devotion” to our country. The flag is then folded by veterans, blessed by a Chaplin and that’s it. The simple ceremony moved Pazeian. “What struck me was the fact that most of the vets were local to the city,” he said, noting that many older vets cannot travel easily. The ceremony in Orange was well-attended, had chairs, places for wheelchairs, and he thought, “why doesn’t Seal Beach have flag ceremonies?”

Pazeian contacted local veteran groups. They were interested. He contacted the city. They were sympathetic and gave him permit info. He contacted organizers of Veterans Day ceremony in Eisenhower Park. And just like that, the first Flag Ceremony” for Seal Beach was set. This history teacher is still teaching, at least in this patriotic way.

For the first time, the city of Seal Beach will have a flag ceremony in Eisenhower Park following the Veteran’s Day ceremony Nov. 11 and thereafter on the first Tuesday of each month, according to Pazeian.

As the ceremony grows, he said local high school choirs, bands, etc. can be invited to play taps or patriotic music, as they do in Orange. Local officials inform citizens about patriotic matters such as the amendments, military heroes, local heroes, etc. Elementary students could attend as field trips to learn the simple strength of the red, white and blue.

So far, Pazeian says he has received interest from Seal Beach, Huntington Beach, Cypress, Los Alamitos and he hopes many will find a simple flag ceremony as a place of refuge for a troubled nation. What better way to regularly thank those in service to our nation and those who have sacrificed so much to keep the flag flying free?

For many, it may not be as interesting as Monday Night football or Dancing with the Stars, but the ceremony will, at the very least, give Americans seeking a return to common ground a solid place to start.

David N. Young is editor of the Sun.