As soon as the leaves begin to fall, I start teaching children patriotic songs. I have my Big Book Atlas handy to look at and talk about America. Of course the American flag hangs in my classroom.
All of this is a build up to Veterans Day.
Some years we have invited members of our military into the classroom to say thank you. Other years we have reached out across the world to say thank you to our military serving overseas.
This year, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of landing on the moon, we thanked retired Navy Captain and astronaut Jon McBride. Jon was the Commander of his space shuttle mission. He was also the president of the association of all astronauts and cosmonauts.
The children only know and understand that he was a pilot in the Navy and an astronaut in space. We made him a big thank you note. Children dictated every word and decorated the big note with enthusiasm.
There are suns, hearts, a flag, drawings of Jon, and a most interesting drawing on the bottom by Ethan, who worked on this for over twenty minutes. Ethan is over the moon (pun intended) about eagles, the American flag, and Jon.
When we made the big American flag, it took children two days of cutting and pasting red stripes to make the flag.
We carefully counted the red stripes on our classroom flag – seven. Ethan told me there were thirteen stripes.
Yes, Ethan, you are right. While the flag has thirteen stripes, there are seven red ones.
The children were very proud of their American flag. I was, too.
As we learn about eagles, their symbol and importance to America, and about the moon, we salute you, Jon McBride. We thank you, and all those who have served, for your service and sacrifice. God Bless America.