P.S. 304 dedicates Liberty Lawn with American flags for first responders, service personnel

P.S. 304 students gather on Friday, June 12 on the Liberty Lawn with its rows of planted flags in honor of America and all those who have served their country. The students learned about the flag and what it represents.
Community News Group / Patrick Rocchio

P.S. 304 students dedicated their Liberty Lawn on Flag Day as a fitting tribute to ‘old glory’ with rows of flags planted on what had been a barren vacant lot next to the school.

Students from every grade in the school and classes from two other schools that share P.S. 304’s Throggs Neck campus planted the flags in honor of those who serve in the armed forces, first responders and Americana.

They held a star-spangled dedication of the Liberty Lawn on Friday, June 12.

At the ceremony, P.S. 304 principal Joe Nobile indicated that the project connected both patriotism and academic goals.

“Planting flags is not new, ” said Joe Nobile, P.S. 304 of the project, who added “We had this vacant property (next to the school grounds), and the staff and I talked this over.”

The Liberty Lawn includes flags planted on a vacant parcel adjacent to the school and placards featuring lessons on bits of Americana like the Declaration of Independence and the United States Capital.

The lawn will be open to community groups who would like to visit it, said Nobile.

Groups will be welcome to visit the site by appointment only until Saturday, July 4, and the Liberty Lawn may become a community fixture with flag plantings on future Memorial Days and Veterans Days.

Attending the ceremony were various members of the community, local non-profit organizations and elected officials: Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, Councilman James Vacca, Theodore Korony American Legion Post #253, Throggs Neck Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Throggs Neck Merchants and Community Board 10.

“I think very few schools do something like this,” said Councilman Vacca. “The Throggs Neck community has always been supportive of veterans, and this is another indication of how we can show that we honor them always.”

During his remarks, Assemblyman Benedetto pointed out that it was the 99th celebration of Flag Day, and he told the children that when people all around the world see the American flag, they think of freedom.

John Cerini, treasurer of the Throggs Neck Merchants Association who was serving as P.S. 304 “Principal for a Day” told the children that this year’s Flag Day is the 238th anniversary of the U.S. Congress adopting the stars and stripes as the national flag, way back in 1777.

Local activist John Marano and Community Board 10 district manager Kenneth Kearns, both representing the board, spoke to the children.

Marano told the children that they could now teach their friends about the flag’s meaning, while Kearns recalled the historical events that led to the writing of one of the songs sung during the ceremony, The Star Spangled Banner.

Judy Lanci and John Lanci represented Korony Post #253: the former preformed a flag retirement ceremony, and the latter dressed as Uncle Sam.

Special thanks were offered to the P.S. 304 custodial crew, who cared for and prepared the grounds where the Liberty Lawn is located, even though technically, it is not on school grounds.

For more information on having a group visit the Liberty Lawn, contact Mary Mutze at mmutze@schools.nyc.gov.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.
Principal Joe Nobile (c, holding scissors) is joined by Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, Councilman James Vacca, Vacca’s chief of staff Michael Rivadeneyra, Judy Lanci of Theodore Korony American Legion Post #253, 45th Precinct commanding officer Deputy Inspector James McGeown, P.S. 304 staff and service personnel in cutting the ribbon on the group of U.S. flags planted by each grade of the school. In the foreground are P.S. 304 students; in the background are groups of flags planted by every student in the school, and placards about American themes.
Community News Group / Patrick Rocchio

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