Magic Kingdom hosted a special flag retreat ceremony to honor four Veteran Cast Members who were recognized as “Veterans of the Year.”
Each day at Magic Kingdom, something very special happens at the front of the park. At 5 PM, you can watch as the American flag stationed at the front of Main Street, U.S.A. is retired for the night. The 15-minute ceremony serves as a tribute to veterans for their service and dedication to protecting the United States. While this is a ceremony that happens daily, in honor of Veteran’s Day, Disney hosted a special flag retreat ceremony to honor Veteran Cast Members.
Disney Honors Veteran Cast Members at Flag Retreat Ceremony
Each day, Disney picks an active-duty military member or veteran from the park’s daily visitors to participate in the flag retreat ceremony. During this ceremony, guests watch as the selected member or veteran joins Magic Kingdom security to lower the flag and carry it in a processional. The ceremony includes the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and performances of “God Bless America” and the “Star Spangled Banner.” Today at 5 PM, Disney had a special flag retreat ceremony. Instead of a park attendee, Disney had picked four Veteran Cast Members who were honored as “Veterans of the Year.”
Four veterans were picked from each branch of military service. These included Joanna Abinuman, an Air Force veteran currently serving as Accounting Services Manager in Cash & Banking Management for Disney Financial Services. Her husband, Carl Abinuman is a Navy reservist who was also honored. He currently holds the position of Apprentice Mechanical at Disney World. Oscar Marin was another honoree. A Marine veteran, Marin was recently hired after being part of the Military Fellowship program. He currently works as a sourcing Specialist for Disney Cruise Line. Otis Muhammad was the final honoree, an Army Veteran who works as a Magic Kingdom security manager.
The veterans were joined by the color guard, and the four Cast Members were honored as being named Veterans of the Year.
Heroes Work Here
Disney has a long history of working with veterans, which has only grown over time. In 2012, Disney launched the Heroes Work Here career site, a hiring program that led to the onboarding of over 12,500 veterans by 2022. The program is dedicated to hiring, training, and supporting U.S. military veterans, and elevating awareness of their “tremendous value as citizen employees.” In 2013, Disney launched the Veterans Institute, a series of complimentary events that were designed to help companies enhance their recruiting, training, and development of veteran talent.
In 2015, Disney created Heroes Supply Here, a companywide endeavor to increase Disney’s spending with businesses that are owned by veterans. Disney’s history of appreciation for military service began long ago with the company’s founders. Both Walt Disney and Roy Disney served in World War I. During the war, Walt was a driver for the Red Cross Ambulance Corps, and Roy was a petty officer in the U.S. Navy.
Donations to the Fisher House and Student Veterans of America
The special ceremony wasn’t the only way Disney celebrated members of the military and their families, either. As part of an annual tradition, members of the Disney Salute Veteran affinity group and Disney VoluntEARs helped to decorate the Orlando Fisher House for the holidays. The Orlando Fisher House is one of 96 comfort homes built across the United States. These homes are intended to “ease the lives of Veteran families in need.” VoluntEARs also delivered a Disney Grant of $25,000 on behalf of Walt Disney World Resort to the Fisher House.
Additionally, The Walt Disney Company announced a $1 million donation to Student Veterans of America. This was done as part of their commitment to helping veterans find “meaningful careers after military service.” Disney has had an ongoing, 10-year relationship with Student Veterans of America, which is a leader in advocacy for U.S. military veterans in higher education.
You can learn more about Disney’s continued work with veterans and active military members at the Heroes Work Here website.
Thanks to Disney for hosting us during a very special flag retreat ceremony, where four Veteran Cast Members were honored as “Veterans of the Year.”