Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Flag Day 2013

Flag Day 2013 will be celebrated this Friday June 14th. Although not an official federal holiday, it nonetheless honors an event dating back to 1777. It celebrates the adoption of the American flag. Last July I blogged about my first time as a volunteer at the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. I worked through the Friends of Flight 93 as a Plaza Greeter. What I remember most about those two days was that people wanted to talk-both as they came to the Memorial and as they left. It leaves an impression. One of the visitors told me he felt very strongly that the large American flag that is at the plaza should permanently be at half mast. When I relayed this comment to one of the National Park Service rangers he gave me an explanation as to why they could not do this. That explanation I will have to ask for again when I return to volunteer again this summer. Flags fly at half mast usually upon the death of an important American-often, but not always a government official. Flag Day seems like one of those holidays that as a kid I took for granted. As an adult the flag means so much more to me now. I have never served in the military, but as an educator I try to plan special lessons, activities, and programs every Veterans Day and Pearl Harbor Day and of course on 9/11. D Day happens to fall after school has ended as does Flag Day. Last Saturday evening I found myself sitting next to a board of education member in the district where I teach. Both of our daughters were in the same dance recital. He knew I was retiring at the end of next school year and asked if I would be spending more time at Shanksville. He was kidding, to a certain degree, but I certainly hope to do that. Just a few days ago our sixth grade made our annual trip to the site as part of our 3 day trip to Hershey, PA. Each trip to the site is always memorable to me and I hope it is for our students as well. This year we were able to watch a video on the tour bus prior to our visit. It was produced by The Friends of Flight 93 and features narration by two NPS rangers-Adam Shaffer and Wendy Clay. Both happened to be at the site that day as well. I spoke to a volunteer at the wall that day and she asked the ages of our students. This is probably the last group that would have been alive on 9/11 so our work for the future is really cut out for all of us in the field of education. As summer is here I hope you consider a visit to the Flight 93 Memorial-who knows it may be on one of the days I am there volunteering!

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