Monday, May 26, 2014

The Flag Retreat

Exactly a month ago, I attended an event with the Capturing the Magic Facebook group--a community of fellow photographers and Disney fans--to observe the flag retreat, a daily lowering of the flag at Town Square in Main Street.  It's a great event and emotionally powerful, as guests who are also currently serving or who have served in the U.S. armed forces are invited to join in the ceremony and salute the flag while also being honored for their brave and patriotic service. 

The event attracts a lot of guests, and spots fill up quickly.  We were able to snag a spot on the east side of the Main Street flag pole, but it required shooting straight into the sun. Under the circumstances, shooting in RAW helped immensely to recover the detail that would otherwise be lost in the face of such a huge light contrast between the sun and everything else.  It also helped to overexpose shots by one or two stops, since the people would be in shadow if I didn't.

I've been meaning to process these photos for a while, but my procastination might have ended up for the best. Because for Memorial Day, this makes a nice tribute to our brave men and women who protect the United States abroad and serve our communities at home.  No matter what your political leaning is, I think you have to respect the courage that our members of the military display in their service.

The Disneyland Band gathers around Town Square to provide a musical background for the flag lowering.

The Dapper Dans also provide harmony for this nice little show.

They sing several familiar hymns for the Republic, from "America the Beautiful" to "God Bless America."

Even a Disneyland duck waddles through to show his respects.

Members of the army, air force, navy, and coast guard are invited to join in the salute to the flag.

There are no pre-arrangements. They step up when identified by their segment. It's a great moment to applaud these brave men and women for their involvement in our armed forces.

The California and United States flags are lowered.
I timed these shots with the crossing of the flags in front of the sun. It resulted in a neat, almost HDR effect (but these are all single exposures processed in my regular manner).

Saluting the flag, as the Disneyland Band plays.

The Disneyland security detail folds each flag in the proper manner.

There is tradition steeped in this event, which was started by Walt Disney in 1955--the very beginning of the park.

A Disneyland band member pulling double duty on saxophone and flute.

Retired Marine Ernie Napper conducts the flag lowering and adds formality and honor to the flag retreat.
After the ceremony, veterans and current servicemen and servicewomen mingle and interact, all bound by their common vein of service to the armed forces.  It's wonderful to see the moments between these different segments of our history all together.
On this day, everyone stopped to shake the hand of a veteran who actually fought in the Battle of Bulge. It was an honor just being in the presence of this heroic vet of World War II.

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