Honoring veterans in a big wayAround Veterans Day, it’s pretty common to see American flags on display. But few are as large as the one currently adorning the wall at Twin Bluff Middle School.
By: Sarah Gorvin, The Republican Eagle
Around Veterans Day, it’s pretty common to see American flags on display. But few are as large as the one currently adorning the wall at Twin Bluff Middle School.
For the past couple of weeks, students and staff have been constructing the massive flag made out of strips of construction paper printed with veterans’ names. The finished flag covers an entire hallway wall from floor to ceiling.
“It’s a collaborative effort between all of the students and staff to honor and respect all those that have given us all our freedom and liberty to be Americans and stay in our country,” fifth-grade teacher Jody Bergeson said.
The project started in social studies classrooms and spread throughout the school as other students, teachers and school employees saw the project.
“It wasn’t just kids, it wasn’t just staff. It went beyond,” special education paraprofessional Lynn Diercks said.
Anyone in the school could add the name of a veteran to the wall.
“They’re people that the students and their families know,” Bergeson said. “There’s many, many locals.”
The names of veterans who are currently serving make up the flag’s white stripes; retired veterans who are still alive make up the red stripes and deceased veterans’ names form the blue canton.
“It’s extremely important that we recognize it,” Bergeson said.
Neal Topliff said his son William, a sixth-grader, brought home the extra-credit assignment to find veterans his family knows to put on the wall. William Topliff then made six separate strips, adding the names of his three great uncles and three other veterans to the wall.
The boy’s father was able to see the completed flag during parent/teacher conferences Tuesday.
“When I came in today, I was like, ‘Wow,’” he said. “I think it’s a pretty powerful memorial,” he added, likening the flag to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Sixth-grader Carter Collins added his stepfather’s name to the wall on a strip of red paper.
“I just think it’s cool,” he said, adding that his previous school didn’t do anything like this to honor veterans.
Seventh-grader Tianna Grabkl put her dad’s name and her uncle’s name on the wall. While her uncle currently serves and won’t be able to see Twin Bluff’s flag, Grabkl’s father will visit on Thursday.
“I’m excited for him to see it,” she said, adding that simply the size of the flag makes a statement.
“I think everyone should know how many people fight for our country,” she said.