Johnson County Middle School student Andrew Reece takes Flag Duty seriously, and his dedication hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Two years ago, Reece agreed to raise the American flag at his school every morning and lower and fold it each afternoon, with the help of Flag Duty teammate Donnie Curd. It’s an exercise designed as an opportunity for students to demonstrate responsibility and citizenship.
So when the 13-year-olds noticed the school’s flag was in tatters, Reece decided to take action, The Tomahawk reports.
“I was lowering our flag, and I saw that it was ripped and felt that we needed to have a new one,” he told the news site. “I decided to write a letter and ask our state representative if we could get a new flag.”
Tennessee state Rep. Timothy Hill got the message, and he was so impressed by Reece’s diligence that he delivered a new flag in person earlier this month. He also presented Reece with a letter recognizing his efforts and a state flag that “was actually flown over the state Capitol,” Hill said.
This Andrew’s initiative is a timely reminder of the nature of morality. James Davison Hunter of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture writes in The Tragedy of Moral Education in America, “Morality is a vision of moral goods shared by a community; the attitudes, aspirations, sensibilities, and dispositions that define its highest aspirations for itself, and how those moral goods find expression in every situation in daily life.” This action and the response of the state representative reflect these higher shared values.
“We do get a lot of calls for a flag, but this was different; something that we do not get often,” Hill said. “I really appreciated Andrew’s request and effort of personally writing to us, which demonstrated his commitment to his assignment and patriotism.”
After Hill presented the new flag, the boys proudly lowered the old one to replace it.
The old flag will now be retired according to The Flag Code, which requires a flag burning ceremony. Flag burning ceremonies are routinely conducted by most American Legion Posts, though many Cub Scout packs, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops retire flags, as well.
The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues has a very interesting article, Living Within Reason, that outlines the thinking of Thomas Aquinas on cardinal virtues that people should acquire in order to live a good and just life. Teachers and principals working to strengthen the moral and citizenship formation of their students could think about how they could incorporate the pursuit of these virtues as part of the daily experience of students.
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