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East Elementary veteran teaches respect, responsibility through flag raising

Brownwood Bulletin - 11/16/2018

Nov. 15--The raising and lowering of the East Elementary School flag has become a tradition established by teacher Michael Moore, a retired Air Force serviceman, and his third-grade students.

As Veterans Day came and went Moore spent each afternoon with some of his students raising and lowering the school flag and teaching lessons on civic duty and patriotism along the way.

"In the past schools I've worked at and schools I've seen, my wife's school at Glen Moore Elementary used to have a flag crew and I thought we're the oldest in the school and we should do the same thing," Moore said. "I picked two of my students, ones I can depend on, and being in the military I know a lot about flag etiquette -- how you fold the flag, how you take it down and raise it back up. I taught the kids how to do it. [Tuesday] they did an amazing job. I just watched them and they do it all by themselves."

Moore said the raising and lowering of the flags is a time honored military tradition, signifying the beginning and end of each day. Moore wanted to bring a similar tradition to East Elementary School and as students took interest he began drawing parallels to how students and servicemen and women approached each day.

"That's the way it is on a military base, it signals the end of our day," Moore said. "It's kind of the same thing here. It signals the end of our school day. When we bring the flag down, we're dismissing students and we're finished with the day. That's the tradition."

Moore has been working with students for the past two weeks, lowering the flag each afternoon and along the way teaching them timely lessons. When President Donald Trump ordered flags at half-mast, following the Thousand Oaks shooting in California, Moore felt it was the appropriate time to teach why flags are raised to have mast and the significance behind such an order.

"That was an opportunity for me to teach our kids how to do that," Moore said. "You just don't raise a flag quickly. You raise it slowly and lower it slowly at half-mast to show respect. My kids ask me 'Why are we flying at half mast?' And I tell them that is how we pay respect for those people that were killed."

Moore said lower the flag with students kick started an entire movement in Moore's class. He said students are now taking ownership of not only their campus, but their immediate surroundings and looking to make a positive impact on their community.

"The teachers responsibility is not just to teach and provide a curriculum, but to build better people. It's to make more civic-minded people, people that are helping people." Moore said. "I've been in contact with Good Samaritans and we're going to start working with them in providing stuff for the homeless. I've already been contacted by parents, who are extremely generous, and we're going to start collecting hygiene items. Good Samaritans is going to come in and show us how to put them in bags. The kids are going to put a note or a picture in there and we're going to give them to the homeless."


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