Memorial Day this year for local schools could be characterized as an opportunity for good life lessons from earlier bad weather as city and county schools were in session for the annual holiday.
One example of this was the dedication of a memorial garden at Flat Rock Elementary Monday. Earlier school officials sought the names of late community members who served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard or National Guard
Monday afternoon, students and staff wearing red, white, and blue met at the elementary school flag garden created through STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) lesson plans, as names of the servicemen and servicewomen were read aloud. Assistant Principal LuAnne Llewellyn said final results of students collecting pennies to pay for the granite marker’s engraving are still coming in.
“It is an honor and our responsibility to remember those who served, and sacrificed their lives in the process. This memory garden offers present and future generations a dedicated place to honor the past, and respect those who gave the ultimate gift of life. Flat Rock Elementary School remembers you,” said Principal Tracey Lewis. “Our memory garden becomes the cornerstone of our future outdoor learning center. We have received a grant from Lowe’s Home Improvement to add to our outdoor area.”
Fallen military servicemen and women named at Monday afternoon’s ceremony and the wars they served in named at the ceremony included:
Iraq War: North Carolina Army National Guard First Lt. Leevi K. Barnard, North Carolina Army National Guard Pfc. Adam L. Marion
Afghanistan: Army Sgt. Anton J. Hiett
Vietnam War: PFC Donald Edward Fletcher, SP4 Harlan Kenneth Gammons Jr., PFC Gary Dale Hicks, Capt. James Rawley Jones and SP4 Mont Steve Smoot
WWII: William Rodger Boyd of Ararat, Virginia
Special Guests for the ceremony included Monroe and Peggy Donathan. Wesley Freeman, Life Scout, former Flat Rock student and a North Surry High School student, played “Taps” to conclude the ceremony. Hot dogs and hamburgers for families were served after the ceremony.
“We served 400 more hot dogs and hamburgers outside of what we normally serve,” said Llewellyn. “We had seven pages of parents who signed in so we were thrilled at the turnout.” She said a $5,000 grant from Lowe’s Home Improvement to the school will allow additional raised beds to be built.
In fact, Memorial Day activities were held in all county and city schools Monday. Franklin Elementary featured a parade of students and a Memorial Day assembly. Jones Intermediate School’s holiday activities included a “student promenade” as children filed out to take part in the solemn activities around the flag which was at half staff.
A tactical vehicle from the Surry County Sheriff’s Office and a large ladder truck from the Mount Airy Fire Department displaying a huge American flag also were featured in addition to 911 tribute songs being played throughout Jones with veterans being escorted into the assembly led by a student honor guard.
David Broyles may be reached at 336-719-1952 or on twitter@MtAiryNewsDave.