Third-graders salute the stars and stripes

Howard Prater, a member of the Cahaba Valley Elks Lodge, presents the 15-star flag during an Oct. 1 presentation at Meadow View Elementary School. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

Howard Prater, a member of the Cahaba Valley Elks Lodge, presents the 15-star flag during an Oct. 1 presentation at Meadow View Elementary School. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – Every morning, students at Alabaster’s Meadow View Elementary stand and salute the Star Spangled Banner. But Oct. 1 was a little different for the school’s hundreds of third-graders.

“We will show you what it means to be an American, what it means to be a veteran and why we should honor them and the history behind the nation’s flags,” Cahaba Valley Elks Lodge member Tom Davidson told the school’s third graders during an Oct. 1 assembly. “Veterans Day is next month. We hope that when it rolls around, you will firmly appreciate what that day means.”

During the event, several Elks Lodge members outlined the importance of veterans in protecting America’s freedom, and gave the students a history of our national flags.

The Elks Lodge members displayed every American flag, including the Pine Tree Flag, the Gadsden Flag, the Grand Union Flag, the Betsy Ross Flag, the 15-star Flag, the 20-star Flag, the 48-star flag, the Prisoner of War and Missing in Action Flag and the 50-star Flag.

After Elks Lodge members presented the 50-star American flag, the kids stood and saluted as the Elks Lodge members played a recording of a 7-year-old singing the national anthem.

Elks Lodge members also explained the importance of preserving America’s freedom, and encouraged the kids to thank veterans for the freedoms Americans enjoy today.

MVES Principal Rachea Simms said the Elks presentation coincided with the students’ lessons on American history.

After the flag presentation, the Elks Lodge members handed out hundreds of dictionaries containing anti-drug bookmarks to the kids.