For the past 16 years, the same American flag has flown outside Rowlett, seeing the elementary school moved from a district magnet school to a conversion charter.
But after 16 years, the flag was retired from service Thursday, with a special ceremony taking place during the Rowlett Academic for Arts and Communications’ annual Veterans Day celebration.
“This flag has served as a reminder of our nation and of those who have defended our freedom,” assistant principal Jamara Clark said during the ceremony.
The retired flag was given to former principal Bryan Flynn and current school principal Kim Penman. The flag will likely be burned completely to ashes, one of the recommended ways to retire a flag.
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The annual celebration at the school kicked off with the student drumline leading a parade of students and veterans — many of them parents or grandparents of Rowlett students — through the courtyard. The boys choir sang, the string orchestra played and the flag was retired.
Lt. Col. Bill Brockman, Civil Air Patrol, spoke to the students about honoring veterans every day.
“The list of things they gave us is a long one,” Brockman said.
In today’s day and age, we as a society hold up some really strange people as role models and celebrities, Brockman said.
“None of them hold a candle to the celebrity status that every veteran deserves,” Brockman.
In his message, Brockman also reminded the female students in the audience that about 1.6 million of the nation’s current veterans are women and that the young girls can make themselves a successful career in the military if they choose to do so.
With no school on Friday, the school celebrated Thursday, which was also the “birthday” of the U.S. Marine Corps.
“Happy birthday to all of our Marines,” said third-grade teacher and celebration organizer Meg Carlson.