Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is a morning ritual at St. James the Apostle School in Glen Ellyn.
But on Wednesday, students found themselves saluting a new 5-by-8-foot flag that was raised for the first time in front of the school.
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Teacher Nancy Palumbo organized the dedication ceremony.
"We were buying a new flag because the old flag was so worn out," she said. "The idea was to assemble the school in a special ceremony marking the first time we raised the flag."
During this 15-minute ceremony, seventh-graders Ani Boghossian and Elizabeth Wessel raised the flag with the help of several seventh-grade classmates.
"It was scary," Ani said. "We were afraid we were going to accidentally put the flag upside down or something."
Principal Nancy James led the school in a patriotic prayer in which students asked to bless the country's leaders and troops.
"We ask for protection for all our men and women in uniform, both here and around the world," James said.
The students also waved individual flags and sang the national anthem.
"It was a very moving ceremony," James said, "and you could see the excitement in the eyes of all the children as our beautiful new flag was raised."