Jim Rodriguez delivered a very inspirational program about his F.L.A.G. Program.  Retired United States Army Captain Jamie Lawrence was also in attendance. Jamie helps Jim with the F.L.A.G. Program.
      The F.L.A.G. program is about our beloved U.S. Flag, but, it isn't what you might think.  F.L.A.G. is the acronym for Fly, Lower And Gather.  
      In the fall of 2010, Jim was doing what most parents were doing, taking his daughter to school every morning.  Day after day, as Jim dropped her off, he could not help but notice the American flag being raised in a manner not befitting this national treasure.
      As a retired 21 year veteran of the United States Air Force, Jim said he would literally shuder every morning as he watched a school employee drop the U.S. Flag and the Texas Flag on the ground before raising them up the pole.  The sad part is that nobody could care less that our Flag was dropped on the ground.  
      So he took action. He called the principal of the school and proposed an idea to engage the students in restoring the tradition, teaching them the history, the etiquette and proper protocol surrounding the American flag. He enlisted the services of Staff Sergeant Jose Rivera, a United States Army Recruiter, and together they launched the first class of the F.L.A.G. Program. The support they received from Waxahachie I.S.D. and the school’s student council and administrative staff helped to bring this dream to reality.
      The F.L.A.G. Program got it's start on Columbus Day, 2010, in Waxahachie, Texas.  Why Columbus Day?  Well, in 1892, we were celebrating our 400th year of discovery of America by Christopher Columbus.  A group of students in Ohio, went to Baptist preacher Francis Bellamy and told him they wanted to be different than all the other kids on Columbus Day when they raise the Flag.  
      Pastor Bellamy wrote some words and told the kids to recite them when they raise the Flag.  Mr. Bellamy said those words are called the Pledge of Allegiance.  He added one condition they must adhere to while reciting those words.  Bellamy said that while facing the flag they should stand with their heels together and do the Bellamy salute which was to raise their arm up toward the flag with their palm down.  
      It wasn't until 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and we entered World War II, that Congress changed the salute to placing our right hand over our heart during the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance.
      The F.L.A.G. Program is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by Mr. Rodriguez, Retired Master Sergeant of the United States Air Force.  They are currently in three states: Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.  Over 3,000 kids in 127 schools are raising, lowering and properly folding the U.S. and state flags.  In September, 79 more schools will begin with the F.L.A.G. Program.  
      At the end of each school year, each participating kid receives a Flag lapel pin, a citizenship award and a big ceremony for recognition.  Students who have served in the F.L.A.G. program for at least four years are eligible to apply for a scholarship.