ELGIN, Okla. (TNN) - A class at Elgin Middle School helped repair 10 tattered flags that draped caskets of veterans at Fort Sill National Cemetery. The flags, along with 46 others, were damaged by the wind on Veterans Day. Repairing the flags was the first time that many of the students sewed, but one thing’s for sure they understand the seriousness of what they’re doing.
They were donated to Fort Sill National Cemetery by families of the deceased. The cemetery needed help repairing them, and that's when a teacher decided to help.
“It's always upset me to think about a flag being torn or whatever,” teacher Melissa Evon said. “And then to find out that these were actual flags that had been on the caskets of veterans and that families that had given those to the cemetery. It was important to us that we be a part of repairing them."
Former Elgin teacher turned State Representative Toni Hasenbeck saw a post from Evon about wanting to help, and the rest is history.
"Betsy Ross sewed those flags by hand,” Hasenbeck said. “So, I think it's really neat that kids understand that whole process which I think is kind of a lost art in our country and so I like that aspect of it. I think this is just one more opportunity that we get to be involved in just the richness that the military history the community is involved in."
Jake Jones, along with the other students in the civics and citizenship class, hand-stitched a seam to the end of the flags and then went back over it with a sewing machine.
"It kinda means a lot because they are their flags, and they would want their flags to be properly handled and cared for," Jones said.
They're also learning how to properly fold one. Evon said this is a way for her class to honor veterans.
"We talk a lot about artifacts in class and about touching artifacts that you're allowed to touch, and standing where history happened, and I feel like touching these flags connects our kids who are willing to give their all for our nation," she said.
Once finished, the flags will fly twice a year on Veteran's Day and Memorial Day.
The cemetery started with 56 flags in need of repair. All have been picked up by members of the community, and they’ve already gotten 12 back. Evon said they plan to have their 10 repaired and returned this weekend or early next week.