Speaking at the Yankee Point Racing and Cruising Club (YPRCC) Fourth of July flag ceremony and later recounting his own personal history with the “Colors,” past commodore John Henley instructed a group of young Americans on how to properly fold the American flag.
Henley noted the U.S. flag “is a special symbol, a flag like no other, a symbol that has no equal.”
It is flown in parades, raised at baseball games, displayed on the back of fire trucks and the stern of ships at sea as well as draped over the coffin of veterans who have served their country, he said.
“The 13 folds remind us of the 13 original colonies; the 50 stars of our states; the white stripes of the purity of America and what it stands for; and the red, the blood that has been shed for our country,” he said.
He recounted that as a midshipman in November 1963, he was afforded the sad but memorable honor of lowering the flag to half-mast when President Kennedy died.
A retired Navy Civil Engineer Corps officer, Henley learned the meaning of the American flag and developed a deep respect for it as he progressed through Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Explorer Scouts and Sea Scouts prior to enlisting in the Naval Reserve after his junior year in high school 1957. He retired in 1984 with the rank of lieutenant commander.
Since moving to Lancaster, Henley shares his passion for sailing with an equally strong love and respect for his country that is expressed by giving back to the community as a volunteer in various areas. He is a long time member of YPRCC, the Moran Creek Yacht Club, Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) and Kilmarnock United Methodist Church.
When explaining various aspects of flag etiquette to the five young YPRCC visitors, Henley stressed the need to stand, salute and honor the Colors whenever and wherever they are flown.