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TAVARES — Early Tuesday morning, the community gathered to honor the withered and torn American flags that once flew high in Lake County.

As the final event of the county’s declared “Pride in America Month”, county commissioners along with the Lake County Historical Society held a flag burning service to properly bid farewell to these retired flags.

“We thought it was a great wrap up for our Pride in America month as well as something that was sorely needed,” said Lake County real estate appraiser Carey Baker. “He educates people on how to respectfully dispose of flags and he brings the community together.”

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The county has declared July “Pride in America Month.” He distributed copies of the Declaration of Independence to all county libraries and placed patriotic decor throughout the county.

Several cities have incorporated the theme into their 4th of July celebrations and the Freedom Tree Ceremony, which was held in June, will be moved to July in the future.

On Tuesday, community members were invited to place a flag over the flames and remember a loved one who served or is serving, or contemplate one of the freedoms that flag represents.

“We really need more stuff like this to praise America,” Nancy Carrigg said. “We are one country, even if we do not all uphold the same values, we are all one people.”

Nancy and her husband, retired veteran Michael Carrigg, placed a flag on the fire in remembrance of their grandson who is on a ship overseas near Ukraine.

“We are one country and we must stay that way,” Nancy said, “and not be divided if we are to succeed.”