Good day and God bless the USA!
It seems unfitting to wish you a “happy” Memorial Day considering what this day is about. Today is a special day set aside for us to honor and remember those who have served, and those who have died, serving this country we call home. I have never met a service man or woman from any branch of the military that is seeking recognition for what they feel is their duty; to serve, and to possibly give the ultimate sacrifice, in the name of that service so the rest of us may live as we please.
In honor of Memorial Day, we’d like to tell you about the way that Walt Disney World proudly honors our servicemen and women every day of the year. Every evening, the Magic Kingdom has a flag retreat ceremony. This ceremony is a respectful, and fitting, way to remind park visitors to Walt Disney World of those who protected the way of life we enjoy, and is very similar to the way that military bases lower and store their American flags. But of course, there is a Disney twist.
The ceremony begins with the Main Street Philharmonic, along with the Dapper Dans, performing beautiful renditions of American patriotic songs. You will be amazed at how many songs you know all the words to. when you suddenly realize you are no longer just watching a performance, but you are participating in this experience as that feeling of American pride swells up in your heart.
The most powerful moment of this ceremony is when Walt Disney World invites military veterans to participate. Following the medley of music, the flag is lowered, and then folded by the Disney color guard. Then the special veteran of the day (with their family standing alongside) helps fold the flag into the shape of a tri-cornered hat, emblematic of the hats worn by colonial soldiers during the War for Independence. In the folding, the red and white stripes are finally wrapped into the blue, symbolizing the light of day vanishing into the darkness of night. This symbolism is reinforced by the ceremony normally taking place between 4:30 and 5:00pm, depending on the time of the year.
The flag is then presented to the veteran while a history of his/her military service is read aloud. The ceremony is finished off with a touching musical compilation honoring all branches of the US military. The special veteran, the Philharmonic, Dapper Dans, and the Disney World color guard all march down Main Street USA and the ceremony is then complete. It’s very patriotic and extremely moving!
Disney has proudly supported the US military, especially during the 2nd World War, and this is one more small way that Walt Disney World helps that tradition to continue. If you are a veteran or have an active military member in your party, make sure you check in to Guest Services as soon as you arrive at the Magic Kingdom. This is a first come, first serve event so you need to check in early if you want to participate.
This Memorial Day, take a moment and remember those who have sacrificed for the freedoms that we all enjoy. God bless you, and God bless America!
Written by WDWParhopper Sarah-Irene
Married, living in North Tampa, FL. Audio geek, power tool junkie and recently converted dog person. Sarah is married to WDW Parkhopper John and they have 2 four-legged kids, for now…
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