COPPERAS COVE — In a country where NFL players are kneeling during the national anthem and former fans are boycotting the games, the Copperas Cove High School Junior ROTC is teaching respect for our nation’s flag and instilling patriotism in some of the country’s youngest citizens.

Eager fifth graders at House Creek Elementary School learned the history of the American flag and proper flag etiquette from members of the JROTC as cadets demonstrated how to properly fold, raise and lower the flag at the start of every school day.

Students including Taylor Trimm watched in anticipation as the cadets taught them how to fold the flag properly and explained why its important to salute the American flag.

“When JROTC came, they taught us to fold and unfold the flag,” Trimm said. “They also taught us to raise the flag.”

The young scholars also learned that each of the thirteen folds have a specific meaning and its folded shape symbolizes the tri-fold military hats worn by soldiers in the Revolutionary War. The cadets also explained which direction the flag should go up based on the colors and how the Texas flag is supposed to fly below the American flag.

Fifth-grader Rileigh Hudson is one of the students responsible for posting the flags at her school each morning.

“I’m honored that I was chosen for the House Creek Elementary flag duty,” Hudson said. “Also, it was nice to have the color guard come and instruct us.”

The cadets told students that they should salute while the flag is raised up the pole and that it is acceptable to place your hand over your heart. Then, they carefully lowered the American flag and explained how to treat the flag with the upmost respect and that it should never touch the ground.

The cadets then allowed the students to fold, raise and lower the flags themselves and answered questions the students had.

Para-professional and flag group instructor Kirsten Hedge appreciated the JROTC giving their time and ensuring the students understood the importance of respecting the national and state flags.

“We are so thankful for the JROTC and (retired Chief Warrant Officer 3) Enrique Herrera coming to our school to help teach our fifth grade students how to properly raise, lower and fold the U.S. flag and the State of Texas flag,” Hedge said.

Now, Hedge says the House Creek flag group is ready to show other students how to be good leaders and to set an example of how to respect the flag.

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