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Banks Middle School welcomes new flag

Veterans, community fete Stars and Stripes at assembly

NEWS-TIMES PHOTOS: STEPHANIE HAUGEN - Community members, students and veterans participated in a ceremony to welcome Banks Middle Schools new American Flag, which was flown over the US Capitol Building in the schools honor. Banks Middle School welcomed students, staff, community members and local veterans groups to an assembly planned to celebrate their new American flag, which flew over the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., in the name of the school.

The middle school’s choir and band kicked things off Thursday, April 7, with patriotic songs and the national anthem as members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Banks American Legion, students and public listened.

The school then welcomed guest speakers Douglas Lund, Joel Dulashanti and Dale Pack from the VFW.

Lund was met with applause after reciting a poem and addressing the crowd about the importance of military service. He then introduced Dulashanti, a veteran in his 30s who lost a leg when he was shot in Afghanistan. Dulashanti went on to serve in the military at the Pentagon and in the 82nd Airborne Division.

“This is the time when you’re exploring your own beliefs,” Dulashanti said to the students. “History often tells us that a few great people made this country great, but it was actually a lot of people who did a lot of small things that made this country great.”

Pack told the crowd about his family’s long line of military service. When he was 18, “I felt it was my turn, my responsibility to join,” he said. “I was just proud to serve.”Joel Dulashanti addressed the crowd last week, sharing an inpiring story about his military service.

When his own son told him he planned to enlist, Pack was afraid for him, not wanting him to experience the things he had while serving overseas in the Vietnam War. But he understood why his son had to join. He concluded by asking the students to dedicate their lives to making “the nation greater than it was yesterday” and was met with a standing ovation.

“I’m so proud of our students,” said Banks Middle School Principal Shelley Mitchell. “ I think it will be a standout memory for sure.”