MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ-- ​ Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios participated in the 2017 District-Wide Flag Retirement Ceremony for the Central New Jersey District of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.

“When people gather to respectfully retire a flag, their tribute extends from the flag to our nation, and from our nation to our fellow Americans,” Rios said at the ceremony held Sept. 16 at the Menlo Park Veterans Home. “Retiring the flag also shows our respect for the values America was founded on: freedom, equality and the opportunity to create a better world for future generations.”

Various lodges, community groups and individual citizens presented flags to be retired. Service-worn flags were presented by stations and disabled veterans.

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Remarks were also shared by Elks officials Dennis Kopik, the Central District Vice President, and Eileen Brennan-Watts, State Americanism Chairperson.

The flag-folding service was performed by the John Basilone Detachment of the Marine Corps League. Local Boy Scout and Girls Scout troops and the junior division of the Elks known as the “Antlers” assisted as flag bearers and honor guard.

Freeholder Director Rios also discussed the details of Middlesex County’s new flag retirement program, which is expected to begin on Veterans Day. For more information on this program, contact the County Department of Community Services at