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Day care receives flagpole as gift

By Staff | Oct 28, 2011

Students and Shepherdstown Day Care administrators raise the American flag at Tuesday's dedication of the flagpole. The Jefferson High School ROTC taught students flag etiquette. (Chronicle photos by Tricia Fulks)

The last time the American flag flew above the Shepherdstown Day Care Center was before the turn of the century, when the building was actually home to the East Side Elementary, the all African-American schoolhouse in town.

Now the symbol of a united nation will cast its stars and stripes over the building once again.

Tuesday, the Shepherdstown Day Care celebrated the dedication of its new flagpole, a gift from the local Daughters of the American Revolution chapter.

Packhorse Ford DAR Regent Cheryl Brown introduced SDC Board Member Donn Marshall, who has worked in the defense industry and lost his wife, Shelley, in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, to speak to the children about the flag’s meaning.

“His life experiences make him the perfect person to speak to us of the flag of the United States of America,” Brown said.

SDC Board Member Donn Marshall explains symbolism to day care children. (Chronicle photo by Tricia Fulks)

Marshall talked to attendees about the meaning behind the flag’s stars, stripes and colors, as well as the symbolism attached to the flag as a whole.

“I’ve used the word ‘symbolic’ many times. Do you kids know what that word means?” Marshall asked, crouching down to the children’s level.

He continued to describe symbolism to the children as the curved line representing the smile on a face they may draw.

“Our flag is a symbol, too,” Marshall said. “It means a lot of things to a lot of different Americans, and all of those things are good, and they should make you smile, too.”

After Marshall spoke, Kathy Klein, chair of the Flag of the United States of America Committee, dedicated the pole to the center, and Dorrene Hale, DAR registrar, unveiled the pole’s marker.

Children of the day care recite the Pledge of Allegiance after the flag is raised at the flagpole ceremony. (Chronicle photo by Tricia Fulks)

Children of the center walked the flag over, unfolded it and rose it to the top of the pole. Children and other attendees, facing the flying flag and holding mini replicas of the symbol, then recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

Air National Guard Lt. Col. Scott Hostler attended the ceremony, along with various other parents and staff members who have served in the military.

“I think it’s very nice to have that symbol there of America,” said Hostler, who has served in the first Gulf War and was last in Afghanistan three weeks ago.

Hostler’s daughter, Lauren, was one of the children who raised the flag before the Pledge was recited.

“I think she understands the importance of the flag, especially with her father being in the military,” said Hostler’s wife, Elizabeth.

Jefferson High School ROTC members taught the center’s students a lesson in flag etiquette before the ceremony.

“Today is a day to be glad to be an American. Today is a day to be thankful for those who protect us and our flag, here at home and overseas,” Marshall said. “The last time a flag was raised here, it was over a segregated school. Today, we raise it over a school where children of all races play and learn. We raise it over the children who will be this country’s future.”