12/13/06 — Classrooms will get new flags

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Classrooms will get new flags

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on December 13, 2006 1:46 PM

Chances are your child pledged his or her allegiance to a piece of paper posted on a classroom wall this morning. Most of Wayne County's 1,200 classrooms don't have a real American flag.

But Tuesday, members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 657 did their part to ensure every classroom in the county has an actual flag.

The group presented Wayne County Public Schools officials with 1,000 new flags -- one for every classroom that only has a paper rendition of the real thing.

"By law, they have to say the Pledge of Allegiance every morning," Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient Mike Burris said.

"Without that flag, they don't feel the impact."

In July, the North Carolina General Assembly passed Senate Bill 700, requiring the display of both an American and state flag in every classroom.

But Wayne schools did their budgeting in June and were "caught off guard" by the new law, said Dean Sauls, social studies lead teacher.

"It hit us all of a sudden," he said.

So Sauls began placing paper cutouts into picture frames and hanging them around classrooms in each of Wayne's 32 schools.

Military Order of the Purple Heart Commander Bill Carr said while Sauls' efforts were a good temporary solution to the problem, it was clear that something more needed to be done.

"In this day in time, we're at war," he said. "The liberal drive-by media is not giving the full scoop on the war against terrorism. So we feel like we should do our part to show those kids how great our country really is."

And along with his fellow Purple Heart recipients, he believes he has done just that.

"I feel real good about this," Carr said. "Passing something like the flag on for the kids is the best thing we can do. They are our future and the flag is our history."

The new flags will be on display in every county classroom sometime shortly after the new year begins, Sauls said.

"It's just something that looks right in a classroom," he said.

Burris agreed.

"When they say that Pledge of Allegiance now, they'll know what it really means," he said. "Standing in front of it, looking at it."

And for men like Carr, those who have risked their lives in defense of America and for all she represents, it's a symbol that means everything, he said.

"It just gives me chills every time I look at it."