With the storm-damaged American flag flying in front of its building showing signs of wear, Semmes Middle School received a new one on Monday — straight from the U.S. Capitol.
U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne presented the school with a flag that had flown above the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 21.
“This is not just a piece of cloth that we’re saying the Pledge of Allegiance to,” Byrne said as he presented the flag to a local Boy Scout troop to raise in front of the school. “We’re saying the Pledge of Allegiance to our republic and to one another. When we do so, we should remember the words at the end of the Declaration of Independence, where the founders of our country said that they pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.”
After the ceremony, held in front of the school and attended by several other local dignitaries and elected officials, Byrne said the presentation of a flag to a school or community center is not a frequent honor.
“I don’t do it very often — maybe seven, eight, nine times a year,” Byrne said. “It’s very meaningful to have a flag that’s flown atop the Capitol given to any person or any organization, so we try to be very judicious about it.”
The school was also recently presented with an Alabama state flag by State Rep. Rusty Glover. After the ceremony, Byrne told MCPSS and Semmes Middle administrators and teachers that he is impressed with the improvement he’s seen in Mobile County Public Schools.
“What you’re doing is critically important to our area, to our future,” Byrne said. “I appreciate all of you who work for the system, the progress you’ve made. What you’ve done to your graduation rate is just fantastic. I want you to know I am bragging on you everywhere I go. … You’ve got to celebrate your success and build on that success for the future.”