KINGSTON -- Jim Walsh was doing a lot of work over the weekend to get ready for his meeting Monday at the Wyoming Valley West Middle School.
Walsh was ironing 100 American flags that will be used Friday in the school's Veterans Day program – Let Freedom Ring.
Walsh and two of his Kingston High School buddies – Dave Long, former Kingston Fire Chief, and Frank Steinberg -- are World War II veterans. The flag and patriotism mean everything to them and they hope to instill that proud to be an American feeling in about 900 students between ages 12 and 14 Friday morning.
Everybody needs to understand the sacrifices made by millions of young men and women who served their country in time of war, Walsh said.
Walsh met with Barry Rogers, assistant principal at the middle school, and Mike Munzing, eighth-grade America Cultures teacher, and other school staff to get ready for Friday's program. Walsh said a color guard will be provided from the 340th Military Police Detachment, Ashley. He said representatives from all wars and veteran organizations are expected to attend.
Rogers will show a slide presentation about Veterans Day, and the school's orchestra and chorus will provide patriotic music.
Walsh said younger generations need to attend programs like this to reinforce their patriotism and get a better understanding of what veterans mean to the country.
There has been an erosion of patriotism across the U.S., Walsh said. And there is a lack of respect for the American flag. That's why we need to present these programs.
Rogers said the program was well-received last year by students. He said many wanted to stay and meet the veterans and ask questions.
They just wanted to say thank you to the veterans, Rogers said.
Walsh draws inspiration from a 2006 encounter when he, Long and Steinberg visited the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. A young boy came up to them and asked if they fought in the war.
He was so sincere, Walsh recalled. He just wanted to thank us.
Walsh, Long and Steinberg graduated from Kingston High School – the building that now is the middle school – in 1943.
We just want to encourage people to be more patriotic, he said. Display the flag, go to a Veterans Day parade and respect all veterans.
What: Veterans Day Program
When: Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Where: Auditorium of Wyoming Valley West Middle School, Chester Street, Kingston
For: About 900 seventh- and eighth-grade students
Honoring: Veterans from all wars