Heavy, steady rain dampened, but couldn’t wash out PS 34’s annual salute to Old Glory last Friday. Hundreds of kids dressed in the colors of the American Flag brought the outdoor celebration inside, taking turns in the school’s crowded basement, where they performed dances, songs and readings for the assembled crowd of parents, teachers, and local electeds celebrating Flag Day.
The school marked 65 years of celebrating the event this year. In fact, the school has a celebration in honor of the event every year since it was declared an official national holiday.
“This celebration is really a part of who we are as a school,” said Carmen Asselta, the principal at P.S. 34. “We still get adults who return to the school for the celebration. Some of the fondest memories of their school days here is Flag Day. It is an opportunity for us to thank our servicemen and it is also a day for the community to come together.”
Flag Day is celebrated annually on June 14 and commemorates the adoption of the American Flag, which took place in 1777. It also marks the day the American Army was founded two years earlier. It wasn’t officially recognized as a national holiday until 1949, when it was so declared by an act of Congress.
At Friday’s event, in a particularly heartwarming moment, one of the students read a story he had written about his neighbor, a member of the US Army. In it the student described how he looked up to his neighbor as a hero and a role model, as the soldier stood next to him.
Both received a standing ovation.
State Assemblyman Joe Lentol was just one of the audience members moved by the show.
“The American flag is one of the most important parts of our heritage that embodies our national pride,” said Lentol. “The tradition that PS34 exhibits every year, for the past 65 years, goes to show how the flag can bring people together. Flag Day is not only a time to honor our flag, but also to recognize our service men and women who give their lives to protect our freedoms. The students of PS34 really excel in honoring the flag through song and dance and I must say the performances this year were some of the best yet, and I can’t wait till next year.”
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