Senior Master Sgt. John Murray, who works at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, said he drives by Marietta High every day to and from his Paulding County home. Last school year, he noticed the flag was not raised every school day.
“I’ve been in the military since 1980, and it’s a sore point with me,” he said Friday. “We defend the country and defend the flag.”
Marietta Principal Leigh Colburn said, “At MHS, we only allow our military personnel or cadets to raise, lower, fold and store our flags to make sure that all appropriate protocol is followed. Our exterior flags will be raised Monday morning, the second week of the school year, as our cadets have now completed the required training and have signed their (Flag Detail) contract.”
The contract she referred to also states that that any time there is “inclement weather such as rain, the flags will not be put up or they must be retrieved immediately.”
Murray said that while he appreciated that the school waited for the ROTC to pass their inspection, he still believed that when school was open, the flag should be up.
“Any veteran would be more than happy to put it up,” he said. “I would gladly come by and put it up myself if they needed me to.”
Colburn said Marietta High is a “proud and patriotic school.”
“We display American flags in every classroom and all public areas of the building including gymnasium, all meeting areas, the main office and there is an American flag at each end of the central grand staircase,” she said.
They also fly every state flag and the flags for each military branch.
“Our ROTC program is 300 cadets strong, and they raise and lower the flag each day of the school year beginning the second full week of school,” she said. “During the first week of school, a select group of ROTC cadets is trained regarding all appropriate and required military protocol for the unfolding, raising, lowering, and folding of the flag.”
MHS students also participate in the Kiwanis Field of Flags celebration, and cadets lay wreaths at the national cemetery on Roswell Road for Memorial Day.
“As the daughter of an Army colonel and the mother of a cadet, it is important to me that we model patriotism,” she said, reminding the public that they are welcome to attend the school’s Veterans Day assembly on Nov. 12 at 9 a.m.
According to the U.S. Flag Code, the flag should be displayed during school days in or near every schoolhouse.
Cobb Schools spokesman Doug Goodwin said flags are on display outside each of the district’s elementary, middle and high school buildings.