Newspaper article The Florida Times Union
Navy Helps Immerse Students in Patriotism and U.S. History
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
"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. …