This story has been updated to reflect a change in location for the event.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) — The last American flag to fly over Camp Vance in Afghanistan will be flown for the first time on American soil during a ceremony this weekend on U.S. Armed Forces Day in Monongalia County.

Just before dusk on Saturday, May 15, 2021, the last flag to fly over America’s Camp Vance in Afghanistan was lowered in a ceremony to signal the end of the 20-year War in Afghanistan. Now, more than two years later, the Gene Vance Jr. Foundation will be raising that same flag at the Public Safety Building at 300 Spruce St. in Morgantown on Saturday, the first time it will be raised in America. The ceremony will take place at 11 a.m.

The ceremony is on the 12th Anniversary of West Virginia’s Gene Vance Jr. Day and, according to the foundation, “will reflect the State of West Virginia’s prolific commitment to safeguarding our nation.” A video of that flag being removed from Camp Vance in 2021 is available here.

Staff Sergeant Gene Vance Jr. was a student at WVU when he deployed to Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001. In May 2002, Vance was killed near the border with Pakistan, while helping to save two of his comrades and 18 Afghan soldiers, according to the foundation. He became the first National Guardsman to die in direct action since Vietnam and the first West Virginia guardsman to be killed in battle since World War II.

The Flag did not fly by the wind alone,
it flew on the breath of every solder that died defending it.

Vance has been memorialized in ceremonies annually, and a number of landmarks across the world are named in Vance’s honor, including the Vance Mile along Deckers Creek Rail Trail in Morgantown, WV, the SSG Gene Arden Vance Jr. Memorial Bridge in Oceana, WV, Gene Arden Vance Jr. Memorial Drive in Morgantown, WV, the SSG Gene Arden Vance Jr.& SG Deforest Lee Talbert Hall of Honor at Camp Dawson in Kingwood, WV, and the Gene Vance Biometrics Experimentation Center at Camp Dawson in Kingwood, WV.

Vance’s brother-in-law Michael Minc, who founded the Gene Vance Jr. Foundation, shared these photos of Vance with 12 News ahead of Saturday’s ceremony.