Comcast is committed to supporting veterans and the broader military community – both inside the company and out. One example is our Veterans Network Employee Resource Group (VetNet), which connects our employees who have served, as well as spouses, family members and supporters, while also creating opportunities to give back to the community.
On Veterans Day, in celebration of Veterans and Military Families Month, members of Freedom Region VetNet gathered at VFW Post 475 in Newark, Del., to ceremoniously retire more than 200 American Flags collected through the VetNet Flag Program.
Inspired by one employee – David Pinder, a Navy veteran and network maintenance supervisor out of Newark. The VetNet Flag Program replaces worn American Flags in the community with new ones, free of charge. Flags are replaced for local residents, nonprofits and small businesses, regardless of whether they are Comcast customers.
In just three years, the small but mighty team of Flag Ambassadors have replaced more than 300 American Flags – more than 200 in the past year alone. The program started in New Castle County Delaware, and expanded to Pottstown and Aston, PA., as well as Port Murray, NJ, and it continues to grow.
“Comcast was proud to partner with the VFW Post 475 for the second year in a row to host this Flag Retirement ceremony. It was especially meaningful to hold the ceremony on Veterans Day, a day to come together as a country to honor the commitment of those who serve and have served our country,” said Dale Elifrits, Vice President of Engineering and executive sponsor of Freedom Region’s VetNet.
Members of VFW Post 475’s Honor Guard, directed by Quartermaster John Morrow, performed the ceremonial duties for the retirement. During a special moment, Quartermaster Morrow recited a poem he personally adapted and updated from Johnny Cash’s “Ragged Old Flag”:
The Comcast man knocked on my door, I asked, what are you here for?
He said, I’d like to replace your old flag at no cost, but please don’t worry because she won’t get tossed.
Told him, I don’t think so, that Old flag’s not ready to go.
In fact, I said, I don’t like to brag, but I’m kind of proud of that Ragged Old Flag.
I told him, you see, that little hole in that flag there is from the battle of Cooches Bridge right here in Delaware.
And it got powder-burned the night Francis Scott Key sat watching her, writing O Say Can You See.
And it got a bad rip in New Orleans, the battle so fierce it strained at the seams.
She made it through the Civil War and proved she’d be our flag forever more.
She rode with the rough riders up San Juan Hill; many Cubans wish she flew there still.
On Flanders Field in WWI, she got another hole from a Bertha gun.
And then there was WWII, she hung limp and low by the time it was through.
She was in Korea and Vietnam, going where she was sent by her Uncle Sam.
She’s been on the moon and I’ve heard she’ll be going back soon.
Flags’ been to Bosnia, Iraq too; Above our troops she’s always flew.
It’s flown above every GI, woman and man, in harm’s way while deployed in Afghanistan.
She waved from ships upon the briny foam, making sailors proud of where they call home.
Been raising her up every morning, taking her down every night; haven’t let her touch the ground and I fold her up right.
On second thought, I think I will brag, ‘cause I’m damn proud of that Ragged Old Flag.
Yes, she’s getting threadbare and wearing thin, but she can’t help the shape she’s in.
You know Mr. Comcast man; I might accept your plan.
Been thinking just now about doing what’s required and seeing that she’s properly retired.
I’ll be thinking “oh what a shame” as I think of the flag being consumed by the flame.
I’ll take your offer of a flag that’s new ‘cause I’m truly proud of the Old Glory’s red, white and blue.
We are proud of our company-wide commitment to the military, and how our employees embody this commitment year-round. To learn more about Comcast’s support of the military, click here.
Check out photos from VetNet’s American Flag Retirement ceremony with VFW Post 475 on Veterans Day 2019: