Gowanda children show patriotic attitude

GOWANDA – Even though the rain came and kept the ceremony from taking place outside, children from Gowanda Elementary School marched their way into the gym full of patriotism with flags in their hands Friday afternoon. Parents and family members squeezed into the gym to see the students, decked in red, white and blue, sing as they waved their flags in the air.

Elementary School Principal Janice Stokes thanked everyone in attendance for making the shift into the gymnasium. The Flag Day program was initially supposed to take place in the front of the school by the flagpole, but because of the unpredictable and rainy weather, the ceremony moved inside.

The parade of students kicked off the ceremony followed by the Call to the Colors by the American Legion and VFW Veterans Honor Guard. Students joined with faculty and the crowd to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. The singing began afterward with the “Star Spangled Banner” as students continued to wave their flags proudly. Throughout the program, Principal Stokes educated the students about ceremony and Flag Day.

“This is a very respectful time as we salute our flag, which is why we’re here today,” she said.

Student Chase Gioffreda spoke to the crowd about the history of the flag. Flag Day was officially established on May 30, 1916 by Woodrow Wilson. But it was on Aug. 3, 1949 that June 14 would be designated as National Flag Day by Harry S. Truman. Chase talked to the crowd about the flag’s symbolism, including the stars and stripes along with the colors – red, white and blue.

“Our flag tells the story of our country,” Chase said. “Everything on the flag symbolizes attitude and resolve in American history. When we view the flag, we think of our freedom. Our flag flies on the moon, sits atop Mount Everest and is floating in outer space.”

Dressed as Betsy Ross, student Meredith Wheeler, spoke about the history in the making of one of the first flags. It started when George Washington approached Ross in her Philadelphia sew shop in 1776.

“On behalf of the Congressional committee, he asked to sew a new flag for our new country,” Wheeler said. “He gave me a rough draft made by husband, Colonel Ross. I offered suggestions for improvement, such as making the flag more symmetrical. After flying the flag at the peak of one of their vessels, they took it to the state house, and Congress unanimously approved it.”

To conclude the ceremony, Principal Stokes told the kids to raise their flags high, as they sang, “You’re a Grand Old Flag.”

“Tomorrow is Flag Day, so make sure that you fly your flags at home tomorrow,” Stokes said Friday.

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