SAYREVILLE – Students at Truman Elementary School were taught the importance and value of the United States flag.
In honor of Flag Day, which is marked annually on June 14, the Truman School held a celebration on June 15. A Flag Day celebration has been held at Truman School since 1992.
Following an introduction, the Sayreville War Memorial High School band performed the National Anthem and in honor of the armed forces, the anthems of each military branch. Students were informed about the history of the United States Armed Forces and the band, under the direction of band director Paul Caruso, concluded their performance with “America the Beautiful” before the veterans spoke.
Veterans from American Legion Post 211 and National Guardsmen introduced themselves to the students, with past commander and co-chair of the Sayreville Veterans Alliance Rich Kosmoski providing background information on Flag Day and the importance of respecting the flag.
“Just as you all get a birthday, the flag also gets a birthday,” a national guardsman told the students.
Kosmoski spoke about how Bernard C. Cigrand, known as “The Father of Flag Day,” kept a flag in a bottle and having been the son of immigrants, was taught about the opportunity the flag represents from his parents. He also noted Cigrand’s observation occurred not long after the Civil War and the country was looking for unity after a conflict that caused the deaths of more Americans than any other war.
“We respect the flag,” Kosmoski said. “The flag represents unity of country and protection and it is worth protecting.”
To honor fallen members of the armed forces, the American flag in front of the elementary school was flown at half-staff while the high school band performed “Taps.”
“Honor Guard members always make certain that a deceased veteran is honored,” said veteran Ed Strek, the legion’s commander.
As the celebration concluded, the band performed further songs, including Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.” as the students returned to their classes.
“We live in a great country and we’re able to enjoy the freedom that we have because of the veterans who fought under the symbol of our country, our flag,” Strek said after the event.