MOORESVILLE, NC – When you retire after 20 years of military service to your country, they give you an American flag to keep. And, as a special request, you get to have it flown over any military base or other place you’d like before the present it to you in your retirement ceremony.
Or, you can do like Richard Miller did and have it flown from the flag pole at Dale Earnhardt, Inc.
Miller, from Floral City, Fla., is retiring as a CS1 (Cook, Petty Officer First Class) from the US Navy at the end of May. He’s currently stationed at the Naval Consolidated Brig in Charleston, SC and said there was only one place he wanted his retirement flag flown.
“As a fan of Dale Earnhardt’s since his Wrangler car days, the choice was an easy one,” Miller said. “I wanted mine flown from the flag pole at Dale Earnhardt, Inc.
“The flag is something the Navy gives to you upon retirement. You get your choice of where you want it flown before you retire and you can have it over a military place, or something like that.
“But, I wanted it to be a place that really means something to me.”
So, just before noon on Friday, March 19 Miller and some friends got to make his dream a reality. The larger American flag was lowered and his retirement one was then attached. It was raised to the top and flew under the Carolina blue sky.
As an added treat, the pole next to the American flag one had our corporate flag and a checkered flag flying underneath. The checkered flag flies every week after one of our drivers wins a race. And, it was flying for Dale Jr’s win at Atlanta Motor Speedway on the previous Sunday.
When Miller looked up and saw his flag on the DEI pole, with the checkered one next to it, there wasn’t a lot he could say.
“I could start crying right now,” he said quietly. “This is great, this is more than I expected. I expected to see the flag hanging and then have it mailed back to me.
“But, to have Dale Earnhardt, Inc. invite me and some friends to come here and visit the facility while it’s done – I’m shaking like a leaf.”
Each year, DEI honors the request a total of three times. And, lucky for CS1 Miller, he was the third, and final, honoree for the 2004 year.
“I can’t even begin to tell you how this makes me feel,” he said. “I’m so honored, and feel very honored.
“That flag is going to be put in my shadow box for retirement. So when they present me my awards for retiring, this is going to be THE flag that takes part in the ceremony.
“Then, it will be put in a place of honor in my house.”