August 27, 2007

WOMEN WITH A PURPOSE:

In Hanover, a Banner Achievement (Matthew McCormick, 8/27/07, Valley News)

Five hundred school houses down -- 16 White House hopefuls to go.

A group of Hanover women has led a statewide effort to see that an American flag is in every classroom of New Hampshire's 500-plus public schools.

Now the women -- Marisa Kraus, Becky Jones, Heidi Postupack and Caroline Tischbein -- have invited 16 Republican and Democratic presidential candidates to help celebrate the achievement at the State House in Concord on Sept. 3.

“We believe, as corny as it sounds, that the flag is the symbol of all that is best in America, of liberty and justice for all,” Kraus, chairwoman of Operation Old Glory, said yesterday.

“For a symbol to remain potent, you have to respect it,” Kraus said.

While the flag can at times be a sticky subject on Capitol Hill, particularly during the near-annual debates over the need to protect the Stars and Stripes with a Constitutional amendment, the organization's members say they do not want to politicize their work.

But they are hoping the star power of candidates like former Republican Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney --the only firm presidential RSVP -- will help broadcast their story and inspire similar efforts across the country.

Kraus said three Democratic contenders, Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois, and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina will not be in the state on Labor Day but have pledged to send remarks of support in time for the group's celebration.

“We want to expand this out to other states,” said Jones. “A lot of people assume there's a flag in every classroom. But when we started calling people, it was amazing how many classrooms didn't have a flag.”

Operation Old Glory began soon after the World Trade Center attacks; that autumn, Laura Bush called on the nation to recite the Pledge of Allegiance as a sign of national solidarity, and the organization's members-to-be noticed their sons and daughters at Hanover Middle and High Schools had to gather around an outside flag pole for the recitation.

“We asked the kids, why did you go outside to say the Pledge of Allegiance and they said ‘Well, we don't have flags in the classroom,' ” recalled Postupack. “We were like, you don’t have flags in the classrooms?”

“We were shocked,” added Kraus. [...]

In all, the organization found that nearly 90 Hanover classrooms were without flags. By February 2002, it had raised nearly $2,000 to purchase and install the Stars and Stripes and presented them to the school district in a ceremony attended by former Sen. Bob Smith, R-N.H., former U.S. Rep. Charlie Bass, R-N.H., five state gubernatorial candidates and the Norwich University Color Guard.

Then Operation Old Glory turned its attention to the rest of the state, beginning with a questionnaire sent to each of the New Hampshire's 70-plus school administrative units asking superintendents to identify how many classrooms were without flags.

When responses to the forms were skimpy, the group began calling -- and calling, and calling. Finally, in early 2004, they had a tally: about 4,000 New Hampshire classrooms were flagless.

Operation Old Glory then partnered with the state American Legion, which divided the state's school districts among its posts and charged them with raising the funds needed to purchase the flags, said Dave Victor, chairman of the state legion's Americanism Committee.

Each school that had a flag in every classroom received a certificate from Operation Old Glory. Kraus said the organization sent its last one out this spring.

“We saw a need and we filled it,” Postupack said.


Five years ago, some doubting Thomas told Marisa that it was too big a job for a small volunteer group to do the whole state--I've never been happier to be humbled. Good going, ladies.

MORE:

Operation Old Glory New Hampshire LABOR DAY CELEBRATION!


COME CELEBRATE THE COMPLETION OF OPERATION OLD GLORY NH ON SEPTEMBER 3, 2007 AT 10:00 am AT THE NH STATE HOUSE CHAMBERS (REPRESENTATIVE HALL) IN CONCORD. ENJOY MUSIC, FRESH APPLE PIE, DONATED BY NH'S " PIE GUY," AND ICE CREAM, DONATED BY BREYERS' ICE CREAM. HONOR OUR FLAG! LIST OF SPEAKERS TO BE ANNOUNCED!


The Operation Old Glory New Hampshire committee is pleased to announce that our mission to ensure there is an American flag flying in every public school classroom has been accomplished.


OOG NH is a statewide project that was launched in the fall of 2002 when we realized that our own Hanover, NH schools needed over 100 flags and that the elementary school lacked assembly flags. As a result of this discovery we raised the necessary funds from community members and local organizations, ordered flags and organized a Flag Installation Day ceremony to commemorate this event. We also decided to expand our efforts to the entire state of NH.


There are approximately 500 public schools in NH. In the winter of 2002 we mailed a letter to the 79 Superintendents of the NH schools who reported back to us that 4000 flags would be needed to achieve our goal. We then partnered with the NH American Legion and gave the eight American Legion posts the flag data. Each post was given a list of schools in their area and the number of flags that each school required. The American Legion provided the flags to the schools and oversaw their installation. The Commanders of the eight American Legion posts have now verified to us in writing that at the present time all the schools in their districts have a flag in every classroom.


OOG NH recently mailed a framed certificate to all the NH Superintendents acknowledging that all the classrooms in their schools are equipped with an American flag. At last, the goal of OOG NH has been realized!


For more information about OOG NH please contact Marisa Kraus, 603-643-6431, email: sandk@sover.net or Heidi Postupack at 603-643-3670, email: heidip@valley.net


PLEASE JOIN US AT THIS UNIQUE, PATRIOTIC OCCASION!


OOG NH Committee
Marisa Kraus, Chairman
Heidi Postupack, Becky Jones, Caroline Tischbein

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 27, 2007 5:36 PM
Comments

They didn't have flags in their classrooms? All of my classrooms in Dearborn had US flags; they were part and parcel of the classroom.

Posted by: Mikey [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 28, 2007 8:30 AM

Mikey: It's NE, the most European part of America. Of course they didn't have flags -- well at least since the USSR fell and those became redundant.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at August 28, 2007 9:29 AM

!

Posted by: erp at August 28, 2007 11:39 AM

Forty years ago. Go to your elementary school today and there'll be classes without.

Posted by: oj at August 28, 2007 12:19 PM
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