Citizens of Bennington County and all of Vermont. As you drive past the Vermont Veterans’ Home, you will soon notice a new flagpole placed out front near the North Street main entrance. Set by itself on the northern side of the stonewall breach that provides access to the flag lined driveway. On this flagpole, we will fly the Honor and Remember Flag. Vermont is the 24th state to recognize the flag that pays tribute to fallen members of the armed services.
The distinctive design and colors of the flag have symbolic meaning:
The Red Field represents the blood spilled by brave men and women in America’s military throughout our history, who gave their lives so that we all would remain free.
The Blue Star represents active service in military conflict. This symbol originated with World War I, but on this flag, it signifies service through all generations from the American Revolution to present day.
The White Border beneath and surrounding the gold star recognizes the purity of sacrifice. There is no greater price an American can pay than to give his or her life in service to our country.
The Gold Star signifies the ultimate sacrifice of a warrior in active service who will not return home. Gold reflects the value of the life that was given.
The Folded Flag signifies the final tribute to an individual life that a family sacrificed and gave to the nation.
The Flame is an eternal reminder of the spirit that has departed this life yet burns on in the memory of all who knew and loved the fallen hero.
At the Vermont Veterans’ Home, we have some of Vermont’s most prominent heroes. We currently have veterans residing here from World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Cold War, Grenada, Panama, Desert Shield and Storm, and the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. These include submariners, B29 and B17 pilots and crew, members of Patton’s Third Army, a Marine who fought on Iwo Jima, an architect of the World Trade Center, tank drivers, truck drivers, pilots, cooks, and gun fighters from the infantry. We have had members of Elvis Presley’s Army Band and an initial member of the negro baseball league. Two of our World War II heroes here now participated in the liberation of concentration camps.
Unfortunately, as rugged and stalwart as our veterans are, they like all of us have a limit to the time they spend here on earth. But rest assured when the end comes, they do not pass away alone. They live here at the Vermont Veterans’ Home with their brothers and sisters, united by the common bond of service to our great nation. Here the veterans have acquired an expanded family, a family of remarkable staff from all our disciplines at the home. Staff who intertwine their lives and the duties of their departments with the residents. The staff of VVH ensures they provide five-star care and services with an earnestness and affection rarely observed in society today.
As our heroes pass away, we want you to know that an individual who signed on the dotted line to protect our many freedoms and to defend us from our enemies both foreign and domestic has passed. When one of these great patriots departs this earthly realm, we will fly the Honor and Remember Flag at half-mast for three days. When you observe this, you will know one of Vermont’s finest is gone, but never forgotten.
A. M. Faxon Jr, Col USMC (Ret.)
Vermont Veterans’ Home