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Airmen of 106th Rescue Wing share Flag Day with kindergarten students

  • Published
  • By Eric Durr and Airman 1st Class Kevin Donaldson

Westhampton Beach, N.Y. – GABRESKI AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE -- Eight New York Air National Guard Airmen from the 106th Rescue Wing shared what the flag means to them during a Flag Day ceremony at William Floyd Learning Center in Shirley, N.Y. on June 14.

William Floyd kindergarten students and staff honored the military members for their service during their Flag Day ceremony.

Students and staff performed patriotic songs, presented Airmen with thank you cards and shared a Flag Day cake.

“Flag Day is a time to honor the greatest symbol of our freedom as American citizens,” said Gary Bretton, the school principle. “We invited the 106th Rescue Wing to our school today to give our students the opportunity to celebrate this day with the true American heroes that defend and serve our country.”

Every year since President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed, June 14th as Flag Day in 1916, Americans have celebrated the adoption of the American Flag everything the flag represents.

The American Flag represents freedom and members of the Rescue Wing have answered the call to serve according to Lt. Timothy J. Ginas, commander of the 106th Security Forces Squadron.

“It felt great seeing the teachers promote the American Flag and the American way of life,” said Ginas. “And the fact that the students embraced that culture. We serve to provide all Americans with the freedom to achieve anything they are willing to work hard for.”

The Airmen were invited to the ceremony so the kindergarten students would find people in uniform less scary, explained Wendy Gross, a kindergarten teacher.

“The purpose of our ceremony was to address the importance of acknowledging and thanking those who have served or are currently serving in the military,” said Gross. “Many of our special needs students have not had the opportunities to meet or speak with members of the military and benefit from adults who can model how to interact appropriately with
them.”

Community engagement is important to keep the public informed about who we are and what we do at the 106, said Capt. Michael O’Hagan, the public affairs officer of the 106th Recuse Wing.

“It was inspirational seeing all the hard work the staff and students put together for the Flag Day Ceremony,” said Major Cynthia L. Spragg, the public health officer of the 106th Medical Group.

“What’s even more impressive was the families that took time to be at the ceremony to support their kids. Community support, collaboration and engagement are important to our mission,” Spragg said.