Class instructors Jonathan Shannon and Julie Black contacted the American Legion Post 58 in Greencastle and asked the group to demonstrate to their students the proper procedure for flag folding. Fourth graders are responsible for raising and lowering the flag everyday at the school.
American Legion Post 58 officers Ray Gillinger, Roger Farrington and Doris McManis spent time Tuesday demonstrating how to raise, lower and fold the American flag.
He told kids to tell their parents how to properly dispose of tattered and old flags.
"Bring them to us. We store them and then dispose of them on two days every year," he told students.
One of the days they have a flag disposal ceremony that entails burning the flag properly is Flag Day and another day that is designated later in the year.
Gillinger also told students that the flag should be lighted anytime time it is flying. During the day natural light works and if it is flying during the night, it should have lights on it.
"This is why the flag is lowered and raised sometimes. It is supposed to have light on it. You don't have lights on your pole so you take it down every night," he explained.
Students were asked how many stars and stripes were on the flag and if they understood the meaning.
Hands raised all over the room as kids offered answers.
Gillinger explained that the red stripes stood for valor and bravery. White stripes represent purity and innocence and the blue signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice.
"Those of us who have been around a long time have seen stars added to the flag," said Farrington in answer to one students question.
"There were only 48 when I first learned about the flag. Since then they added Hawaii and Alaska," added Farrington.
A major concern among the youngsters was what would happen if they let the flag touch the ground by accident.
"Accidents happen," said Gillinger. "Just pick it up as quickly as possible."
Another good question was why the American flag was always at the top over other flags like the state flag of Indiana.
"The American flag always flies above others because it is the national flag and the most respected symbol," said Gillinger.
After discussing the flag, the students headed outside for an actual demonstration.
"We practiced this last night," laughed McManis. "We wanted to make sure we did it right."
The second highlight of the demonstration had nothing to do with the flag itself. All the fourth graders and staff were treated to the legendary Legion burgers.
"We got up early this morning to cook the burgers and even cut up the onions," said McManis.
For information about the flag and proper procedures contact the American Legion Post 58 at 765-653-8939. You can also drop off flags that need to be destroyed at the Post at 1401 Indianapolis Rd., Greencastle.