Navy Helps Immerse Students in Patriotism and U.S. History

Article excerpt

Proud. Confident. Worshiped. Well-recognized.

These were some of the words Master Chief Petty Officer Chris

McCool used Friday to describe the American flag during a flag

dedication ceremony at Southside Estates Elementary School.

With hundreds of wide-eyed students surrounding them, McCool

and several members of the Helicopter and Anti-Submarine Light

Wing from Mayport Naval Station demonstrated the proper way to

raise, lower, halfmast, fold and retire the American flag.

The ceremony kicked off Southside Estates' theme for the year:

"The Spirit of '76." It was held to teach students about flag

etiquette and to show off a large painting of the United States

free-handed by Southside Estates art teacher Mike Viafora, with

help from students, parents and other teachers.

The painting took about three weeks to complete and was done on

the ground around the school's flagpole.

McCool told students that a private ceremony would have to be

held to retire the school's old flag.

Flags are retired by burning them in private. "Public displays

of burning are disrespectful," he said.

Third-grader Eric Crowell, 8, said he learned a lot during

Friday's ceremony.

"This has been real good," Eric said. "I never knew that you

had to burn the flag."

As a new flag went up, Eric and the other students, dressed in

red, white or blue, slid to the edge of their seats. They tilted

their heads back as far as they could, squinting their eyes and

trying not to miss anything.

"The students will never forget this day and what they learned

here about the American flag," said Viafora. …


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