Veterans from American Legion Post 30 in Edgefield, S.C., joined with students and faculty of Francis Hugh Wardlaw Academy to conduct a flag-folding ceremony that marked the respectful retirement of Wardlaw’s old flag and heralded the arrival and display of its successor.
In late 2022, fellow veteran Justin Bailey, an assistant football coach and father of Wardlaw students, had first approached Post 30 about working together. Post 30 was excited to accept the invitation to host a student assembly on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023, marking the arrival and display of a new U.S. flag which Post 30 had gifted to the Johnston, S.C., school. The sparkling new Stars and Stripes replaced an aging, yellowed Old Glory that had long graced the wall of the academy’s gymnasium.
After some planning and preparations, school officials selected four students to represent Wardlaw Academy: Colt Bailey (sophomore), Kale Henderson (8th grade), Aiden Rogers (sophomore) and Andrew Smith (7th grade). Leading up to the ceremony, veterans and students choreographed the event and practiced together to ensure that the finished performance was conducted seamlessly. The students quickly realized that it’s not as easy as it appears. Commander Tommy Tripp, Vice Commander Winston Boddie and Adjutant Jane Doolittle offered guidance to the students, sharing tips from their own experiences to ensure that, by the final fold, they had achieved the desired crisp triangular shape.
On the morning of the ceremony, standing nervously before the entire student body, fingers trembling, the four students carefully and deliberately formed each fold, conducted in stages as Doolittle described the symbolism of the colors and elements that make up our nation’s symbol. After performing their roles flawlessly, they presented the perfectly-folded flag to Tripp. They inaugurated the new flag by leading the student body in the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
The mission of Post 30 is to serve veterans and their families while also spreading the values of patriotism and American traditions throughout our community, and the partnership with Wardlaw served as an ideal opportunity. We hope our schools and community organizations will always feel free to call upon us to share our knowledge and allow us to be of service.