MANAHAWKIN – As you travel on Route 9 past the Southern Regional High School, little American flags flutter in the wind, reminding passersby of what Memorial Day is really about.
On May 23, Southern Regional students once again lined the grass with thousands of American flags in preparation for the district’s annual Memorial Day ceremony. The unique tradition, known as the “Field of Flags,” is meant to honor the lives of those American soldiers and veterans that were lost in the fight to protect our country.
Not only this, but the flags also represent for the families of those fallen soldiers.
The tradition began years ago by district employee Marilyn Doherty. The torch was later taken up by Southern Regional teacher Jean Piscopo.
Throughout the school day, students took turns leaving class to help ROTC cadets in “planting” flags on the lawn of the school.
“One flag is planted for each service member killed in Afghanistan and Iraq which, as of today, totals 6,997. Special flags are also placed for alumni that were killed in action,” stated Piscopo.
In 2018, the lawn saw 6,952 flags.
Following the planting of the flags, Southern Regional hosted a Memorial Day ceremony on May 24, paying tribute to all branches of the military and recognizing past and present service members.
“Our purpose is to enlighten students that Memorial Day is not just a day off from school but to the true meaning of the day,” she added.