Legion donates 80 flags for Forest Glen classrooms

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 14, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

September is quickly approaching and students will be back in classrooms, beginning their day with the &uot;Pledge of Allegiance.&uot; That oath of loyalty to the &uot;Stars and Stripes&uot; will be made more enjoyable by the fact that flags will be flying above the chalkboards in each classroom thanks to American Legion Post 57 of Suffolk.

John R. Bright, Adjutant for Post 57 for the past 35-years, said Forest Glen Middle School is the latest school receiving bright new flags for its classrooms. He and the newly elected Commander of Post 57, Fred Copeland, visited the school Monday morning, presenting 80 flags to Principal Daniel R. O’Leary Jr.

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&uot;These are the classroom flags that go into special holders so that they project out over the chalkboard,&uot; said Bright. &uot;We began this flag project in 1990, when Lakeland and Nansemond River High Schools opened.&uot;

Bright said one of the Post 57 members, James D. Thorsen Jr. executive director of Facilities and Planning for Suffolk Public Schools, brought the idea to the American Legion post.

&uot;He told us that the chalkboards were going to have a little flag holder at the top of each, but that the flags would have to be purchased at a later date because they weren’t in the budget,&uot; Bright explained. &uot;We presented each school with 80 flags , and it didn’t take long for word to get around.&uot;

Bright said that goal of Post 57 American Legion is to see that every classroom has a flag.

&uot;Every American Legion member focuses on service to veterans, their families and to the communities in which they live,&uot; said Bright. &uot;We believe that Legion officers at every level must lead the way in reinforcing this vision, and we feel the flag project is one that serves the students of Suffolk.&uot;

The American Legion also encourages active participation in civic affairs on the part of its members. The organization was founded in 1919, and Post 57 was founded in Suffolk that same year.

Bright said the Legion also sponsors oratorical contest in which high school students are challenged to speak for nine minutes on the Constitution. In those competitions, two students from each of the Suffolk high schools, and one each from Nansemond-Suffolk Academy and one from Windsor High, try their oratory skills. All this begins again in September, and not only is it a great opportunity to learn public speaking but it also affords the winners with scholarships.

Another American Legion project sends two boys from each high school to &uot;Boys State,&uot; Bright added.

&uot;For quite a few years now, Lakeland and Nansemond River have sent four boys each and the Academy and Windsor High send two each,&uot; said Bright. &uot;We had a boy from Suffolk who became the Attorney General of Boys State this year, and we’re very proud of that.&uot;

The 11 young men who attended Boys State will be presented with certificates by Suffolk Mayor E. Dana Dickens at Wednesday evening’s City Council meeting.