May 15, 2008

Colorado Student Stands Up For Old Glory--"Duty, Honor, God And Country"

**Welcome Michelle Malkin readers . . . scroll to find a way to help out

"I stand for duty, honor, God and country"--Jeffrey Sahli


Jeffrey Sahli, 14, has been raising and lowering the American flag each school day for the past two years at Evergreen Middle School. (Photo by Brian Lehmann/Special to the Rocky)

Every now and then, the daily political grind and the latest news from around the world can turn even the most optimistic of bloggers just that much more cynical.

But then, this is America, and there are still patriots, like Jeffrey Sahli of Evergreen, Colorado:
Jeffrey Sahli noticed the faded, fraying U.S. flag outside Evergreen Middle School soon after he started eighth grade last year.

"I thought the flag wasn't being treated with flag etiquette. I thought I needed to do that," the 14-year-old said. "I wanted to serve my country and I thought, heck, I'll start right here."

With the principal's permission, he began taking care of Old Glory. Every school day he carefully hoists the U.S. and Colorado flags before classes and takes them down before heading home. He folds the Colorado flag into a neat square, the U.S. flag into a triangle, and places them in a cabinet in the office. He keeps them inside on stormy days.
That isn't the whole story, however:
Susan Roy didn't know Jeffrey but saw him every time she dropped off her son at Evergreen Middle and picked him up.

"Jeff would be out there - rain or shine - it didn't matter," she said. "He just wasn't taking it down, throwing it over his shoulders and taking it inside. He was very purposeful about it."

"As simple as it is to some people, it really is a big deal. He doesn't do it for an attaboy. He just does it because it's right."

Roy was so impressed that she told a family friend stationed in Iraq about Jeffrey. First Sgt. Timothy Horan serves with the Kentucky National Guard's 138th Fires Brigade.

"You don't hear of kids taking that kind of responsibility especially with something like that," he said. "A lot of younger kids think it's corny."
Or even unpatriotic. Just ask the "patriots" at Recreate '68.

Horan was moved by Jeffrey's patriotism:
Horan bought a flag at the military store and hung it above Camp Liberty near the Baghdad airport on Jan. 30 in Jeffrey's honor.

The next day, he was flown out of the country for emergency heart surgery. Friends sent the flag to Horan this spring. He got it to Roy who gave it to Evergreen Middle School Principal Jane Sutera.

Sutera arranged a surprise ceremony Thursday at the school where a shocked and grateful Jeffrey received the flag and a certificate from the Army recognizing his patriotism.

"I've never been recognized for doing something as simple as that," he said. "It was one of the best feelings I've had in my life."

He said he wasn't embarrassed by the attention because he wants people to see what he stands for.

"I stand for duty, honor, God and country."
Something "as simple as that"--uncommon valor in an era without virtue.

And yes, Jeffrey plans to serve:
Jeffrey doesn't come from a military background, though he hopes to attend West Point.

He wears a cross and a dog tag on a chain under his shirt. The bands on his braces are red, white and blue.

Outside Evergreen Middle School, the flag is clean and bright.

Jeffrey said the flag reminds him of the soldiers serving in Iraq.

"When they're coming home, I wanted them to see the flag flying high."
My father, a Marine, and my brother-in-law--due to ship to basic for the U.S. Coast Guard in two weeks--send their thanks and salute you Jeffrey.

**Update: Feeling inspired? Here's a way to help out--a fellow Colorado blogger is once again conducting a Project Letters from Home campaign (see contact info below):
This post will stay on top for awhile, so please check below for newer posts. I’ve got the email address for Project Letters from Home up and running, and have already recieved several letters. Thank you to those of you who have already emailed and/or posted about this on your blogs.

Once again, I’m collecting letters of support for the men and women aboard the USS Russell - DDG-59. I’m aiming for about 250 letters, so it will be a smaller project than last time. I’ve received word back from the Marines who we sent the letters to late last year, and I can’t emphasize enough how important these letters are to them. It’s really not all that much to ask to sit down and write a short note of support to those putting it all on the line for us.


Please send the emails to letters@thinking-right.com

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