On an early September morning in 2009, my mom, the kids and I were headed to a pre-opening breakfast rendezvous with our friends from the Hundred Acre Wood at Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom.  We had a small mission before greeting Pooh and the gang.  While I snapped away on an empty Main Street USA, my mom made her way to City Hall to inquire about the flag ceremony that afternoon.  She caught up to us with a smile on her face and said “Guess who the veteran of the day is today!”

Let me take a minute to mention that there is a lot of speculation on how the veteran of the day is selected.  Some say they are chosen at random (in which case, the honoree would need to “look like a veteran.”  I suppose this means wearing a hat or tee proclaiming the title or branch of service.  I’d also heard that you can inquire at City Hall, which is what we did.  If you’re traveling with a veteran who’d like to be a part of the ceremony, it certainly can’t hurt to stop by City Hall early in your day.  Ours was a surprise for my grampa, so he had no idea how it all came about.

We were told to have him arrive at City Hall at 4:30.  The ceremony is at 5:00.  They did a quick run-through while our family was given a front row “seat” for the ceremony.

Yes, Stitchy-Poo slept through the ENTIRE thing…Walt Disney World Band and all!

If you’ve never seen the ceremony, it’s a really nice flag retreat at 5:00 daily.  I’d seen it several times before our family was involved.  Maybe it’s the patriotic music or those early years as a Marine brat, but it always gets me a little shiny-eyed, if you catch my drift.

Before the actual flag retreat, the Dapper Dans, the barbershop quartet of Main Street USA, choose a child to say the Pledge of Allegiance.  Wouldn’t ya know, they chose our little Cinderella.  Normally somewhat shy, she jumped at the chance!  We were so proud!!  She did such a good job saying the Pledge that Cinderella herself sent her a personal invitation to join her and her family for dinner that evening at 1900 Park Fare!  Good thing the kids were already dressed for such an occasion. 😉

After the Pledge, the color guard and grampa made their way to the flag…

 

 

 

 

The color guard lowered the flag and proceeded to fold it for the night…

 

 

The folded flag was handed to grampa…

A small percentage of WDW guests and a small percentage of veterans have this picture, and it’s one of my absolute favorites from the day!!

And we made our way down Main Street USA flanked by Main Street ops cast members…

 

The cast member walking next to us here found our video and YouTube and recognized himself!  How fun!

 

 

Grampa was presented with a certificate and exclusive pin, and we took a few family shots…

Stitchy-Poo was just now starting to wake up…haha!

 

 

And that was the September 27, 2009 Town Square Flag Retreat Ceremony!

Of course, I have it filmed, so here it is in live action!

It was such an honor for our entire family to be involved with the ceremony and is definitely a priceless memory!