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Veterans, students come together to fly new flag at elementary school

VFW came and taught students how to fold the flag (East Park Elementary/Facebook)

Today, a new flag flies over East Park Elementary School — and it took students, staff, and local veterans coming together to make it happen.

On Tuesday morning, members of the Fairmont-based Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7048 visited East Park Elementary to teach students about the American flag.

During their visit, they also replaced the school’s worn-out banner with one bearing vibrant new reds, whites, and blues.

The visit was organized by second grade teacher Amy Natz, who reached out to VFW Post 7048 directly. Noticing the school needed a new flag, Natz had the idea to make replacing the old colors a learning opportunity for students.

Students who attended the event either serve on the school’s fourth grade safety patrol — composed of students selected by school administrators for their exceptional trustworthiness and responsibility — or want to serve in the military themselves one day, Natz said.

“They’re excited about the new flag,” she said.

Rockie Filius, one of the visitors from VFW Post 7048, said the ceremony taught students the fundamentals of flag maintenance, from how to raise a new flag to how to discard one that has served its purpose.

Students also learned techniques for correctly folding a flag after taking it off a flagpole, Filius said. This requires folding the flag 13 times, with each fold representing a different moral principle integral to military service and American citizenship, he added.

“It’s very important to teach the importance of the flag and what it means,” Natz said. “These men were willing to give up their lives for our freedom.”

Filius said that VFW Post 7048 will also take the school’s old flag and ensure it is disposed of properly.

Principal Jessica Holt said Tuesday’s ceremony marked just one of many opportunities students have to learn about citizenship. She added that members of VFW Post 7048 will return to school for Veterans Day.

“We wanted our students to have the opportunity to collaborate with the VFW,” Holt said. “We thought it would be a good start to the school year to introduce them to some of the members, as well as learn about what they’ve done for our country.”

Beyond the learning opportunity the visit provided students, Holt said the school is “more than happy to have a new flag.”

Holt and Natz said they hope Tuesday’s visit marks just one of many school collaborations with local veterans.

“I know it’s so important,” Natz said. “We’re very fortunate and honored to have them.”

Students, veterans, East Park Elementary School staff gather for flag ceremony

Members of East Park Elementary School’s fourth grade safety patrol as well as students aspiring to serve in the military attended a flag ceremony with local veterans Tuesday morning.


(c) 2023 the Times West Virginian

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