Flags For Our Heroes
12th Annual Flags For Our Heroes Event - November 6, 2021
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.
This year, we will continue with our "Meet at the Cemetery" event, where any families who wish to participate can meet us at the cemetery to place flags on Saturday, November 6, 2021 at 9 a.m. The cemetery address is: 10410 Veterans Memorial Dr. Houston, TX 77038. All participants will meet between the main part of section S1 and the pond for a group picture before we place flags.
Students, staff and families who wish to participate can get real time updates from the Williams Elementary homepage, The Flags For Our Heroes page at bit.ly/flagsforourheroes.
Elementary students participating in the Meet at the Cemetery events should remain with their family members for the duration of the event.
We will have another organized flag retrieval event this year. Students, staff and their families can meet us at the cemetery to retrieve our flags on Saturday, November 13, 2021 at 9 a.m. At the conclusion of this event the flags will be returned to Williams Elementary to be repaired, bundled and stored for next year's event.
This year's Flags For Our Heroes event will be coordinated from Willie E. Williams Elementary School with Marcia McConnell as the primary contact.
The 12th Annual Flags For Our Heroes event is an excellent community service opportunity for all MISD students, staff members, and their families. It has been a profoundly moving experience for all who have participated through the years. We hope to have many families who choose to participate from all of our MISD campuses. Help us to continue to honor our local military families by participating in this year's Flags For Our Heroes event.
Questions regarding the 12th annual Flags For Our Heroes event may be directed to Marcia McConnell at Williams Elementary School. Thank you for your continued support!
12th Annual Flags For Our Heroes Timeline
November 6, 2021 (Saturday before Veteran's Day) - Volunteers meet at 9 a.m. at the T.C. Jester entrance at section S1 and place flags to honor the memory of U.S. military and their families laid to rest at the Houston National Cemetery during our 12th Annual Flags For Our Heroes Event.
November 11, 2021 - Magnolia ISD NJROTC members place additional flags at Houston National Cemetery during their trip to march in the Houston Veterans Day Parade.
November 13, 2021 - (Saturday) Volunteers meet at 9 a.m. at the T.C. Jester entrance at sections S1, R, and R1 for flag retrieval at Houston National Cemetery.
November/December 2021 - Secondary students wishing to earn community service hours repair, bundle and store flags for next year's event. (Contact Mrs. McConnell for more information)
Participating Campuses for the 2021 Event
Williams Elementary - Claudia Dominguez, Principal
Magnolia Elementary - Donna Covarrubias, Principal
Note to MISD Staff and Students:
Your campus does not have to be a participating campus in order for you to participate in the event. All MISD staff, students and their families are invited to participate in Flags For Our Heroes.
The Story of Flags For Our Heroes
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, Retired
Magnolia Elementary & Willie E. Williams Elementary
Co-founder - MISD Flags For Our Heroes
11th Annual Flags For Our Heroes
The McConnell and Gustin families were able to retrieve all of our flags the following Saturday, and they are currently stored at Williams Elementary in preparation for next year's event.
10th Annual 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.