Donations from Multnomah County, VFW Post 180 bring flags to the Multisensory Learning Academy

Huddled under umbrellas on a blustery Friday afternoon, Multisensory Learning Academy students celebrated raising the American and Oregon flags for the first time.

“Being out here today shows how much you love your school and how much you want to be here,” said Jo Ann Lindenthal, executive director of the public charter school.

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Students Mitchell, left, and Christian are assisted by VFW members Jerry Krzmarzick, center, and Val Shaull, right, as they prepare to raise the American flag on the the new flag pole at Multisensory Learning Academy. The Gresham post of Veterans of Foreign Wars and Multnomah County donated the flag pole and flags.

Thanks to donations by Multnomah County and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 180, students at the school had the opportunity to learn how to properly raise and care for flags.

For the first time, a flagpole and two flags are gracing the MLA campus in Fairview.

“We’re all taught to reuse things when we can,” said Multnomah County Commissioner Diane McKeel. “When we had an extra flagpole for our East County Courthouse, we didn’t want to throw it away. We’re so happy it’s here with you.”

While the county donated the flagpole, VFW Post 180 donated the two flags and volunteer time training students on flag care.

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - The American and Oregon flags are raised for the first time at Multisensory Learning Academy on Friday, Feb. 22.

After raising the flags Friday, Feb. 22, about 120 students, staff, parents and dignitaries said the Pledge of Allegiance. Cheers from students abounded throughout the program.

“Every time you raise this flag, I want you to think of your veterans, your military,” said McKeel, whose son is a member of the military. “When you see them in the community, say thank you to them for their service to our country.”

Members of the MLA student council spoke about what they’d learned from the VFW during their training and what the new flagpole meant to them.

“It’s more important to make sure the flag stays off the ground instead of hitting it,” Mitchell, a sixth-grader, said. “It’s a sign of disrespect to drop the flag.”

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Multisensory Learning Academy students brave the rain to watch the raising of the American and Oregon flags on Friday, Feb. 22.

Marcus, a fifth-grader, discovered each flag required a different type of folding, while Ella, a fifth-grader, said the ceremony was inspirational to younger kids, giving them a glimpse of what the flag means to adults.

For Payton, a fourth-grader, it was nice to finally see and honor a set of flags on campus.

“This is an educational opportunity for the kids,” said Michael Riordan, school board president. “It’s a good learning experience and patriotic, too. We’re all citizens of this great land.”

As umbrellas collapsed and students retreated to class, McKeel applauded the crowd for coming out in a dismal downpour.

“I want you to give yourselves a big cheer because you’re really troopers out here today,” McKeel said.

Flags 101

• Betty Ross sewed the first American flag in May 1777.

• Today, the American flag consists of 13 alternating red and white stripes. The stripes represent the original 13 colonies that rebelled against the British, and the stars represent the 50 states of the union.

• The colors of the flag: red symbolizes hardiness and valor; white symbolizes purity and innocence; and blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice.

• The flag is never allowed to touch the ground.

• If the flag is flown at night, it should be illuminated.

• If the flag is damaged from wear and tear, it should be repaired. If it is beyond repair, it should be destroyed in a dignified way.

• The flag is flown at half staff on certain days of national importance. On Memorial Day, it is flown at half staff until noon.

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