Patriotism was alive and well at The Osborn June 17, as residents of the shining senior facility welcomed fourth-grade students from Rye’s three elementary schools for an Intergenerational Flag Day Celebration.
By Sarah Varney
Patriotism was alive and well at The Osborn June 17, as residents of the shining senior facility welcomed fourth-grade students from Rye’s three elementary schools for an Intergenerational Flag Day Celebration. The children sang patriotic standards and seven seniors shared personal stories about the flag’s meaning to them.
“This is a wonderful partnership we’ve formed with The Osborn the last two years. The flag connects all of us as one great nation,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank Alvarez. In his remarks, Osborn CEO Mark Zwerger told the one hundred 10-year-old students that their number is equal to 1,000 years of experience, but that the 400 Osborn residents have them beat by a mile. The average age of Osborn residents is currently 87.
Six of those residents gathered with students to talk about the flag. James Thresher, a British/Canadian transplant who has lived in Rye for many years, showed the students small versions of the British, Canadian, and United States flags. He recounted his story of how he ended up in Rye and mentioned the advantages of having multiple passports. He encouraged the children to travel, but to always remember where they come from.
Resident Rosemary Alexander regaled students with the tale of the sacrifices a group of people made to create the first American flag during the Revolutionary War. Francis Hopkinson gathered white bed sheets for the background and stars, while the red for the stripes came from donated petticoats. A soldier contributed his navy blue coat for the large blue square. “The flag is a symbol of a terrific new idea —democracy — that spread across the world,” Mrs. Alexander said with emphasis.
Jack Savage showed students the folded flag that draped his father’s coffin. “My father was severely wounded in one of our many wars.” That folded flag came to stand for the courage and honor that his father displayed in wartime. He urged students to visit Washington, D.C. “There’s no place that teaches you more.” A member of the Marine Corps for eight years, Mr. Savage encouraged students and family members to attend one of the hour-long parades held Friday evenings in the summer at the Iwo Jima Memorial, which honors Marines who sacrificed their lives in that battle. “Not many people know about it, but it’s a truly rewarding experience.”
Celia Dollar, Robert November, and Lee Starr shared more stories. After fielding questions, the residents and students from the Milton and Midland School choruses, along with the Osborn School Melody Makers, gathered in The Osborn auditorium. There, the school music directors, Marshall Toppo, Sean Amdur, and Sam Verneuille, led everyone in the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, “Anchors Aweigh”, the Marine Corps Hymn, and “God Bless America”.