Tuesday, November 11, 2014

#Veteransday14: Some Gave All, All Gave Some...

The stars in the corner, the white and red in the field and the single star all mean something to this school.
Around and Back Again?
On Wednesday, November 5, 2014, From Kandahar, Afghanistan, the 687th Horizontal Engineer Company flew two flags in honor and anticipation of folks back home.  Staff Sergeant Kyser pulled the flags and gathered her belongings and everything dear to her there and traveled around the world for a surprise visit to her friends and family, especially her children and mother. She planned to surprise her children at school!  Sure enough the authentic emotion and release is recorded in this Facebook post: The Re-Union  It worked and the voice the daughter thought was around the world walked into her life and immediately brought a rush of memories, sweet communion and a peace that only a mother's voice can bring! Ironically, over 17,000 viewings were recorded in the five days following its release.  It is easy to imagine the flag traveling around the world to get here, and the memory of the flag returning dividends as thoughts returned to Afghanistan through technology.

The Stars
The flag is folded in proper formation and placed in the corner of this memorial.  The 13 folds and corresponding stanzas align with the this poem:  My Name is Old Glory

In Honor of...
The plaque in the lower right reads:

So that all shall know, this flag was flown in the face of the enemy over the headquarters of the 687th Horizontal Engineer Company, Kandahar Airfield, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan and bears witness to the fight against terrorist forces which threaten the freedom of the United States of America and the world.

On 05 November 2014, Staff Sargent Kristie Kyser, of the 687th horizontal engineer company flew this American flag in honor of WINFIELD MIDDLE SCHOOL

Retired, Laid to Rest, From the Battle Field and back...
In the lower left corner, below the sea and to the left of the plaque, a single star lays from a flag just retired.  The history and background of this flag carries its special honor as well. This retired flag faced the enemy in battles in Baghdad, Iraq.  After intense service, it was retired November 8, 2014.  Each of the 50 stars was salvaged by the AMVETS Chapter 180, of Lincoln County and is now in the care of Sergeant Rick Myers.  After our Tribute Assembly to our local veterans, this special gift was pulled from an inner pocket and bequeathed, bestowed or otherwise handed to me! I felt honored and privileged and at the same time, unworthy.  Yet, I knew there was a great location for us to display this trophy. 

We accept...
With honor and as much reverence as possible by a group of school children and their teachers, this was read in front of hundreds as we graciously accepted this token: 

“On behalf of the Winfield Middle School, of the Winfield School District, in Lincoln County, State of Missouri in these United States, I will receive this flag and we will hold it in the highest regard, with honor, pride and reverence as we display it in our trophy case.  Thank you very much. “

Special thanks and recognition go the the planners and organizers of this annual event, the Veterans Day Assembly of Winfield School District.  Every year the Assembly seems to mature and develop as these events regularly bring over 75 veterans to the event. Students received an authentic lesson in gratitude and thanksgiving and veterans got to enjoy their little voices, excitement and enthusiasm, reminding them that all made their sacrifices all worthwhile.

History of History
In the past few years, our school, Winfield Middle School has retired a flag, complete with the burning.  We have buried the ashes appropriately the following year and now this year we received a new flag from Afghanistan.  We hope our history, although short, has made memories on our students and an impact on or veterans and an influence on our community as we strive to give back just a miniscule representation of gratitude.


Winfield Middle School