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Pocket flags are students' connection to military

American Legion Auxiliary Unit 17 sponsors project
Richard Shields fifth-grader Ryleigh Elliott shows off a pocket flag complete with a message inside. BY RON MACARTHUR
November 29, 2012

It seems like such a simple thing, yet it can have a dramatic impact.

Through a project sponsored by American Legion Auxiliary Unit 17 in Lewes, Richard Shields Elementary School fifth-graders participated in a nationwide program to provide pocket flags to members of the military. The pocket flags made in Lewes are being sent to soldiers in Afghanistan.

Project co-chairwoman Judi Whitman explains the flags, which contain messages from students, will be delivered in time for the Christmas holiday. She said soldiers can put the small flags in their pockets as a reminder there are many people back home thinking about them.

“It's a small way to let them know we are thankful for what they do for us and the sacrifices they make for us,” she said. “It also serves to promote patriotism to the students.”

American Legion Auxiliary units in all 50 states will make and distribute 1.7 million pocket flags as part of The Pocket Flag Project.

Two members of Cape Henlopen High School's JROTC program assisted Unit 17 volunteers at the school. JROTC members Allie Mueller and Sylvester Lovett showed students how to fold a regular-size American flag as auxiliary members explained the symbolism behind the 13 folds.

The project had special meaning to several students because they had parents or other family members serving in the military overseas, including Afghanistan.

Whitman says it's hard for members of the military who are away from home, and being away during the holiday period is even harder. The auxiliary packs holiday boxes for five soldiers the unit has adopted.