Flags For Our Heroes

Magnolia ISD

Big picture

11th Annual Flags For Our Heroes Event - November 7, 2020 Has Been CANCELLED

Flags For Our Heroes is an annual event offering MISD students, staff and their families an opportunity to honor the memories of United States soldiers and family members who have been laid to rest at the Houston National Cemetery.


It is with great sadness we announce, that due to the current public gathering restrictions in Harris County related to COVID-19, and in consideration of the health of all participants, this year's event has been cancelled. We look forward to honoring our heroes at rest once again on November 6, 2021


Questions regarding the 11th annual Flags For Our Heroes event may be directed to Kerrie Gustin at Williams Elementary School or Magnolia Elementary School. Thank you for your continued support!

11th Annual Flags For Our Heroes Timeline

This year's Saturday event has been CANCELLED due to COVID-19 public gathering restrictions in Harris County and in the interest of the health and safety of our studens, staff and their families.

Participating Campuses for the 2021 Event

The 2020 event has been CANCELLED. We look forward to honoring our heroes once again in 2021.

The Story of Flags For Our Heroes

Patriotism and a deep sense of respect for all those who have served in the military has always been an important part of my family's culture.


My grandfather, Charles Townsend, was a Master Sgt. in the Army during WWII. In the spring of 2007, exactly one month apart, he and my Grandma Floy were laid to rest in the Houston National Cemetery.


The following Memorial Day, we began a family tradition of honoring the memory of my grandparents with American flags. As we left the cemetery after that first visit with our children, my daughter Grace turned to me and said, "Mommy, it's so sad that so many of these soldiers have no one to honor their memories."


I thought about it for a moment and replied, "You know what? I think we can do something about that."


Over the next year, every time we went to the store, Grace reminded me to toss a package of American flags into our shopping cart. The following Memorial Day we were able to honor the memories of 150 soldiers and their families. Of course, when we discovered that was only a little more than four rows in my grandparents' section, we were determined to do more.


At the beginning of the next school year I spoke to Brenda Marfin, who had recently become Director of Social Studies for MISD, about inviting the schools to participate and Flags For Our Heroes was born.


Williams and Magnolia Elementary Schools elected to participate during our 1st campaign. Mrs. Marfin and Rozanna Roach from the curriculum office worked with us to coordinate the event. Over several months we collected change to purchase flags, and students participated in an essay and art contest in order to have an opportunity to join us on Memorial Day to place flags at the cemetery. On Memorial Day 2011, a dozen MISD students boarded a school bus during their summer vacation, to honor the memories of 1,150 veterans and their families.


During our 2nd campaign, we had seven participating campuses. On Memorial Day 2012, we took over 70 students, along with several teachers and administrators on two school buses, and led a tremendously long caravan of family members to the Houston National Cemetery; where we were able to honor the memories of 2,000 of our nation's heroes.


Our 3rd campaign was supported by eight participating campuses as well as some members of our local Magnolia community. Sixty students who had submitted essays or projects were invited to participate in the event. The day of the event, we discovered that another organization had organized an amazing city-wide effort to honor all 70,000 veterans interred at the Houston National Cemetery with American flags. We went forward with our event, honoring 4,000 soldiers in section S1 with a second American flag. Many family members visiting the memorials of loved ones who were laid to rest at the cemetery expressed gratitude to our MISD students who had chosen to spend part of their Memorial Day honoring the memories of soldiers who had bravely served our nation. After learning that plans were in place to make Flags for Fallen Vets on Memorial Day an annual event, our committee elected to move our event to Veterans Day beginning with the 2013-2014 school year. We encourage anyone who is interested in participating in future Memorial Day events to visit the Flags for Fallen Vets website and register to volunteer for next year's event.


The 4th annual Flags For Our Heroes event took place the Saturday before Veterans Day. We invited students in 1st through 8th grades to submit essays and video projects for the opportunity to participate in the event. We were joined by members of our district's NJROTC from both MHS and MWHS, as well as the Literacy Block Methods Students from Sam Houston State University hosted at Williams Elementary. We were able to honor approximately 4,000 of our nations heroes with American flags.


Our annual event has continued to evolve through the years to what is now a meet at the cemetery event the Saturday before Veteran's Day, and a flag retrieval event on a Saturday following Veteran's Day. Through all of these changes, our mission remains the same. We seek to offer the staff and students of Magnolia ISD the opportunity to honor the memories of the brave men and women of our United States military and their families for their dedication and sacrifice to the cause of freedom.


It is my hope, that with your continued support, we will not only be able to increase the number of soldiers we are able to honor each year, but that Flags For Our Heroes will become an enduring Magnolia ISD tradition, offering generations of students the opportunity to express their patriotism by honoring the memories of those who have served our country and preserved our freedom.


In Honor of All Who Defend Our Freedom,


Kerrie Gustin - Elementary Advanced Academics Teacher

Magnolia Elementary & Willie E. Williams Elementary

Co-founder - MISD Flags For Our Heroes

10th Annual MISD Flags For Our Heroes

10th Annual Flags for Our Heroes

During our 10th annual event, we were joined at the Houston National Cemetery by approximately 85 staff members, students and their families. This year in honor of the 10th anniversary of our event, and thanks to the efforts of our new Social Studies and Advanced Academics Director, Alana Wood and Marilyn Wood from the curriculum office, we were on target to meet the goal of placing more than 10,000 flags. However, when we unloaded the flags at the cemetery on Saturday morning, we discovered that six crates of flags had severe water damage that occurred while they were in storage. Due to the severity of the damage it was not possible to get an accurate count, but we estimate close to 3,000 flags were damaged beyond repair. The good news was, that we had over 3,000 new flags for this campaign, and we received a last minute anonymous donation of several hundred small parade flags which allowed us to extend into an entirely new section for us, along the walls in section C where cremated remains are interred. With these additions we still surpassed the previous year’s total, by placing approximately 8,500 flags during our 10th anniversary campaign.
9th Annual Magnolia ISD Flags For Our Heroes

9th Annual Flags For Our Heroes

For our 9th event, we were joined at the Houston National Cemetery by approximately 80 staff members, students and their families. This year, for first time, since Veterans Day fell on a Sunday, CDR Bedell and our NJROTC cadets from Magnolia and Magnolia West High Schools joined us at the cemetery to place flags during our Saturday event. We placed approximately 7,500 during our event on November 3, 2018.

https://youtu.be/kSBUUD-PukI

8th Annual MISD Flags For Our Heroes

Shortly before the beginning of our 8th event, the Houston Area experienced wide-spread devastation in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. We suspended collections for the purchase of flags for the event, encouraging donors to divert their resources to assist in relief efforts. We placed a total of 7,000 flags during our our 8th annual event on November 4, 2017.
7th Annual Magnolia ISD Flags For Our Heroes

7th Annual Flags For Our Heroes

Due to the success of the previous year's campaign, the 7th annual Flags For Our Heroes was once again a meet at the cemetery event. We had nearly 80 Magnolia ISD students, staff and their families meet at the cemetery to place 3,600 flags the Saturday before Veterans Day. On Veterans Day, our NJROTC students once again placed an additional 3,000 flags during their annual trip to march in the Houston Veterans Day parade. On November 17, 2016 we hosted our second organized flag retrieval, where we were honored to be assisted by volunteer cadets from a military academy who were performing community service at the cemetery.
6th Annual Magnolia ISD Flags For Our Heroes

6th Annual Flags For Our Heroes Event - November 7, 2015

Our 6th annual Flags For Our Heroes campaign brought many changes to the event. Instead of having students submit projects in order to participate, we invited all staff, students and their families to a Meet at the Cemetery event, where we placed over 3,000 flags. The day of the event brought torrential downpours throughout the Houston area. Radar revealed a consistent dry line over the cemetery, so we broadcast through social media that we would move forward with the event. We were amazed at the number of people who braved the weather to join us to honor the memories of our brave soldiers and their families. As always, our NJROTC students placed an additional 3,000 flags during their annual trip to the Houston Veterans Day parade on the second day of our event. We also added an organized flag retrieval event to our yearly campaign which was a great success.
5th Annual Magnolia ISD Flags For Our Heroes

5th Annual Flags For Our Heroes

During the 5th annual Flags For Our Heroes campaign, the invitation to participate in the event was extended to all MISD campuses. Students in 1st through 12th grades were invited to submit a project or essay for the opportunity to join us for our second Veteran's Day weekend event. The event took place on two days with selected students, their families, MISD staff, and the SHSU Literacy Block students placing 4,000 flags on Saturday, November 8, 2014. On Veterans Day, Magnolia ISD NJROTC students placed an additional 2,000 flags in sections R and R1 allowing us to honor the memories of 6,000 of our heroes. We were able to retrieve all of our flags from the cemetery that Thursday afternoon with the hope of continuing to increase the number of flags we place each year.
2012 Flags for Our Heroes