Clockwise, from left: Elbridge Elementary third-graders Aydin Beaumont, Laura Alcock, Hannah Obsorn and Tiffani McMahon.
Elbridge By drawing lengths of red, white and blue polyester yarn through perforated rectangles of plastic canvas, third-graders in Carolyn Sherlock’s class at Elbridge Elementary School hope to create more than a needlepoint American flag. They want to craft a message, too, for U.S. service members.
“They save our lives,” said Hannah Osborn, 8. “And this is what we can do so they know we appreciate them.”
“They make us a country,” added classmate Tiffani McMahon, 9.
Once stitched together, the 156 plastic rectangles – 35 navy, 64 red and 57 white – will form a U.S. flag measuring about 2 feet by 4 feet, which the class plans to donate to the Gregory J. Harris Military Courtesy Room at Syracuse’s Hancock International Airport. Run by volunteers, the room provides active-duty military personnel a comfortable spot to relax and have a snack between flights.
A representative of the Courtesy Room will visit the school at 9:30 a.m. June 15 to accept the class gift.
The students, who this year read “Mommy, You’re My Hero” by Michelle Ferguson-Cohen, “The Peace Book” by Todd Parr and “My Daddy is a Soldier,” by Kirk Hilbrecht, Sharon Hilbrecht and Sharron Hilbrecht, also wrote letters to a classmate’s cousin stationed overseas with the Army, Sherlock said.
“If they’re not aware of it, they don’t understand the sacrifice families put forth,” she said.
The needlepoint project was suggested by J-E parent Suzanne McGinn, whose 9-year-old son, John, is in Sherlock’s class.
“Last summer, we flew out of Hancock, and our flight was delayed,” McGinn said. “We started walking around and we discovered this hospitality room and we chatted with the volunteers. I took their pamphlet and kept it in my purse all year.”
And when a childhood memory recently surfaced, of sewing a needlepoint flag as a second-grader in Marcellus, the idea took flight.