SALCHA, Alaska - Hands over hearts and singing the National Anthem, students at Salcha Elementary School were delighted to have members of the Fort Wainwright military and civilian police force, Officer Christopher Teel, Department of Emergency Services, and Staff. Sgt. James Stelly, 28th Military Police, demonstrate proper respect and etiquette with the raising of the flag August 18, the first day of school. Salcha Elementary School Principal, Annie Keep-Barnes and sixth-grade students Deacon Holmes and Angel Hampton joined Teel and Stelly as the entire school sang the national anthem. Beforehand, Teel and Stelly had given a short history and courtesies lesson on the American flag and what it represents. Keep-Barnes said, “We wanted to mark the first day of school with a sense of dignity and ritual…the military is a perfect choice to pair with the image of the flag. The men and women of our armed forces are the reason that our children are able to stand in front of a free and public elementary school and salute their flag.” At Salcha Elementary, the older students are responsible for the raising and lowering of the flag each day. Having an officer and Soldier from Fort Wainwright gave a sense of the importance to the occasion. “The American flag is one of the most precious images of citizenship we can share with our students, so it was important to impress upon them that there is a proper way to handle the flag and that it should always be done thoughtfully,” Keep-Barnes said.