Every weekday morning around 9:30, the flag goes up on the campus of Mary Giella Elementary School. It's a respectful task, taken seriously by fifth-grade flag raisers Nate Munson, Jared Durlak and Dustin Long.
But lately, it seemed that Old Glory was looking a little tired and tattered, the colors faded from the harsh Florida sun. It was time to fly a new flag, which meant taking down the old flag and disposing of it in a proper and respectful manner.
So parent involvement and volunteer coordinator Shirley Picklo called the local VFW Post 8681 to see what could be done.
The post would be more that happy to help, said Senior Vice Commander Bob Corthell. The VFW, it seems, disposes of old and tattered flags by burning them in a small private ceremony on the first Saturday of each month.
And, as it turns out, the post had just started up its own color guard. Enlightening youngsters about the Stars and Stripes was one of the tasks they were hoping to take on.
On Thursday, Corthell and fellow post members Lynn Daffer and Bob Humphrey went to the school equipped with a new flag and a few lessons on proper American flag etiquette.
"I really think it's important for the kids to learn this at this time in their life," Humphrey said. "A lot of people these days don't know about our flag."
Nate, Jared and Dustin were invited to raise the brightly colored new flag for the first time and to test their knowledge along with members of the student council and safety patrol.
There was a demonstration on proper flag folding and some discussion on what the flag represents; things like pride, respect, sacrifice and patriotism.
They covered the basics — 50 stars, 13 stripes — six red, seven white. They talked briefly about proper etiquette; that the flag should never, ever touch the ground; it should be lighted when flown at night; and that you should salute or put your hand over your heart as the flag is raised high on the pole, because that's the respectful thing to do.