Military members consider the dawn and dusk flag ceremony an honor and tribute to all fallen comrades.
Performed at U.S. military bases all over the world, the raising and lowering of the American flag is not simply another duty routinely carried out every day. Especially while deployed, this act holds enormous meaning.
In fact, morning and evening colors are so highly regarded that any military members outside will immediately stop what they are doing, face the flag, and salute. They will also stop, pull over their cars and wait until the flag ceremony is done and the color guard announces it is alright to carry on with business.
Lance Cpl. Henry Cervantes, an administrative clerk with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 6 expressed his dedication to the ceremony and honor of taking part in it. He also calls it a “time-honored tradition,” that he doesn’t take lightly. He conducts the flag honoring tradition with Lance Cpl. Lamarr Johnson, another administrative specialist, as a two man team.
As part of Johnson’s daily responsibilities, he marches out the flagpoles two times a day. He yells “colors” to signal to everyone the flag ceremony will begin. Quickly picking up on the commands and actions, Johnson commented that he did not really understand the importance of the ceremony until he learned the steps and other tasks like folding the flag.
Both men who perform the daily flag ritual agree hoisting the flag high represents more than simply fabric stitched together. The stars and stripes are about all their brothers who gave their lives defending this country. Cervantes goes even farther to call each man and woman who lost their life a part of his family. And it is because of this strong sense of family Cervantes and Johnson take their job so seriously.
At their forward operating base in Jackson, Afghanistan, the color guards raise the American flag and the Afghan flag early each morning in order to symbolize a partnership between the two nations. These two brave marines continue the time-honored tradition and add to the history of our nation’s colors.