St. Mary’s American Legion provides flags for first graders

Green Holly Elementary School first grade students display their new flags along with, pictured in back row, teacher Ella Lefton, left, teachers Jennifer Viverette and Amanda Deemer, and St. Mary’s County American Legion legionnaires Mike Barbour, Dan Ion, George Morgan, George Kennett and Tommy Howe.

Legionnaires from St. Mary’s County American Legion posts conducted the Flags for First Graders Program at Dynard Elementary, Mother Catherine Academy, Father Andrew White, Capt. Walter Francis Duke Elementary, Benjamin Banneker Elementary, Green Holly Elementary and St. John’s Schools on Nov. 12 and 13. A total of 347 students benefitted from the program activities.

The program primarily allows students to enhance their Americanism and learn about the principles of justice, freedom and democracy, according to a release. The histories of the English, Scottish, Union, Grand Union, 13 stars and stripes (Flag Act of 1777 — Hopkinson, Cowpens and Betsy Ross), 15 stars and stripes — Star Spangled Banner (Flag Act of 1794), 20-star (Flag Act of 1818), 48-star, and the present U.S. 50-star flag were reviewed with the students.

Students were instructed on the proper display of the flag and the rules of flag etiquette. Legionnaires demonstrated the proper way to fold the flag while the National Flag Foundation’s step-by-step overview of the symbolism associated with the folds of the flag was read to the students, according to the release.

Legionnaires also answered questions from the students ranging from flag protocols to civic responsibilities. All the students were presented with a tabletop flag and wooden base, “Our Country’s Flag” book, and a ruler with the pledge of allegiance and a pictorial chronology of U.S. presidents. Twenty-three of the county’s 24 elementary schools currently receive the program, with approximately 1,261 students benefitting, according to the release.