There’s a large complex of six multi-housing buildings sitting at the southern edge of Downtown Minneapolis. It is here where Mike Keenan can be found working for BMM, performing small maintenance tasks that make a huge impact on not only the lives of the residents here, but also the lives of his fellow vets and their families.
Outside of working for BMM, Keenan is heavily involved with the VFW where he serves as the 2nd District Commander of VFW Dept. of Minnesota, and the 4 times Post Commander at the VFW Post 295 in South St. Paul. After serving in the US Army for two years, including a year-long deployment to Vietnam in 1967, Mike joined his local VFW as a color guard. He’s been involved now for over 36 years, working his way up to his current position.
As the 2nd District Commander of the VFW Dept. of Minnesota, Mike helps organize a special annual flag burning event around Flag Day. This event is put together to properly burn retired flags in accordance with government mandated flag etiquette. According to Keenan, each year the VFW collects nearly 10,000 retired flags to be legally burned near Big Marine Lake in Forest Lake, Minnesota.
Mike Keenan works with multi-housing complex managers to make sure their flags follow all standards of respect as outlined by the Flag Etiquette. This includes replacing the flag when it becomes weathered or torn. While many may not think about what happens to a flag after it needs replacing, it is almost a ceremonial task for Mike Keenan and Rick Marx as they work together to fold the edges of an expired flag from Downtown Minneapolis. They neatly fold it into a triangle, and Keenan sets it aside to bring to the VFW for their annual flag burning ceremony. Keenan explains that depending on the weather and wind, the flags in Downtown Minneapolis need replacing every 3-6 months. Each year, between 200 and 300 spectators, including veterans and their families, gather at Big Marine Lake to watch and pay respect to the 10,000 retired flags being properly burned, including the flags Keenan collects downtown.
BMM is honored to employ many veterans, and we appreciate their sacrifices and service greatly. Wishing all of Vets out there a very Happy Memorial Day this weekend!