News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 4, 2013

Patriotic start to the Fourth

Flag ceremony before fireworks reminds us of holiday’s meaning

Dustyn Fatheree
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — In 12 symbolic folds, four local servicewomen ceremonially, in sharp military style, formed a U.S. flag into a triangle Wednesday night at an Independence Day event and presented it to a grateful Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett.

“The [flag] ceremony itself is so moving,” the mayor said. “It is a very appropriate ceremony for the Fourth of July and I appreciate they asked me to do this. Sometimes we need to just pause and think about what has been sacrificed for our independence.”

Bennett said the ceremony — conducted at the Landing at Fort Harrison — is a symbol for American pride and is special when performed.

Tech. Sgt. Kelli Wietlisbach, Master Sgts. Laurie Weaver and Jennifer Faulkner and airman first class Amber Davis volunteered their time to perform the flag folding and retirement ceremony as members of the Indiana Air National Guard 181st Intelligence Wing’s honor guard.

Each of the 12 folds of the flag has an underlying American value attached to it. Most of the folds have to do with religion, the armed forces and family, a narrator explained during the ceremony. The first fold is for life, followed by eternal life and continues to the 12th fold dealing with American Christianity. That completes the triangle, which symbolizes “in God we trust.”

Other folds explained were for one who entered the biblical shadow of the valley of death, motherhood, fatherhood and the remembrance of a fallen soldier.

“People call us to do these kind of ceremonies,” Wietlisbach said. “We practice a few hours before the event and get it down.”

The Landing has hosted four Independence Days and plans to continue holding such events in the future, said Ashley Wolfe, its marketing representative. Wednesday’s festivities included live entertainment from the Mullet Over, EZ Street Jazz Band and Pure Entertainment with D.J. Bernie McGee. Food and a beer garden were also available.

“This is a community event to honor local veterans,” Wolfe said.  

A V.I.P. buffet dinner also took place honoring the police and fire departments and the mayor. Rates ran at $35 a person or $200 for a table of eight.   

“It is our way of giving a thank you to city officials,” Wolfe added.

After the flag ceremony, the music began again and people made their way to the golf course for a fireworks show that started at dusk.

Reporter Dustyn Fatheree can be reached at 812-231-4255 and