If they didn’t know it before, they know it now: these colors don’t run.
Members of a local American Legion post taught elementary school students about the meaning of the American flag and patriotism during a trip to PS 304 on Friday, June 13.
Nearly 300 youngsters got to learn all about Old Glory from members of the Theodore Korony Post No. 254 one day prior to the too-little-celebrated holiday that honors the Star-Spangled Banner.
“The idea is to give students an understanding of the flag, how to respect it and what the pledge of allegiance means” said Judy Lanci, one of the organizers of the event.
The interactive presentation included questions and answers, illustrated booklets for the kids to take home, and a visit from Uncle Sam himself — Judy Lanci’s wife John, who dressed up as the American icon to get kids fired up about learning about the Stars and Stripes.
Among the topics covered were the growth of Flag Day programs in schools in the late-19th Century as part of an effort to Americanize generations of immigrant children.
“That is so perfect for today because we are becoming a nation, again, of immigrants,” she said.
In addition to the Flag Day celebration at PS 304, Korony Post commander Joe Mondello hosted a program at the Pelham Bay and Throgs Neck branches of the public library titled “The History of the American Flag” that gave a primer on the country from the time of the 13 British colonies ruled by King George III through its evolution into a free and independent nation.
Both programs at the elementary school and libraries are part of an effort of the post to bring Americanism to the local community.
“These are two great Americanism programs,” Legion member Pat Devine. “Both [Mondello and Lanci] have been perpetuating Americanism through Flag Day for decades. People don’t always realize how they got their freedom.”
Devine pointed out a hard truth that he said kids need to learn.
“Freedom isn’t free,” he said.