Norwich Free Academy honors veterans

Story by Aleysha Rivera Bocachica and Brett Woods

Thousands of Norwich Free Academy students and faculty members walked by a display of over 100 flags on the school's front lawn to honor those who serve or have served in the military. The Norwich Free Academy’s Supporting Our Service Men and Women organization, a club of approximately 20 students, joined with the Colonial Flag foundation to present the Norwich Field of Honor Display.

“Having the flags on campus, well having the kids walk by, I think it is great that the kids could see it,” said Danielle Tirrochi, SOS Club President. “People took pictures, they posted [them] on social media, they brought awareness; people really appreciated it.

Local veterans and over 45 volunteers from the Varsity high school football team worked together to help the SOS club to prepare, assemble, and mount the flags.

“For us, it’s a big event for our guys to be a part of because, for us, veterans are a huge part of our program. We have players whose families' members are veterans; we also have players who plan to enlist in the military, different branches," said Jason Bakoulis, Varsity Football coach. " So, for us, to be able to give back, it was just an honor, and I was excited to allow the guys to be a part of that."

Individuals could make a donation for one of the seven and a half foot flag staffs, that featured a service member's name and information attached to the base of the flag. The donations benefit organizations that aid veterans and their families. Those who donated money keep the flags that they purchased to continue honoring their loved ones who have fought for our freedom.

“[W]hat the flag means to me," said Sergeant Crawford an Air Force Veteran. "About the greatest thing that you can have in your life is the flag."

The flag symbolizes many things to those who pledge allegiance to it.

“If you look around the world, which country has the most freedoms, is us," said John Wagne, a Navy Veteran. "And this flag represents that freedom."

The bright display of red, white, and blue stars and stripes served as a reminder of all who have been valiant enough to fight for our freedom. This is the first of many projected Field of Honor Displays at the Academy to educate the general public on veterans and their great efforts.

“This is the greatest flag in the world," Sergeant Crawford said. "And that’s the way it should be.”

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