Students decorate school with thousands of American flags to honor veterans

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CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. —

A sea of small American flags decorated a Catawba County middle school to honor veterans for their service.

Before you even get into the Riverbend Middle School, you can see the students’ hard work. They have put up more than 4,000 flags, each one representing a day we have fought in Afghanistan.

Savannah Frye showed Eyewitness News the school’s Veteran Wall of Honor.  Her cousin served in the Air Force. 

“All these people who are going out and fighting for my freedom to go to church on Sunday, even just to come to school to get an education, and it is just very cool,” Frye said.

Frye isn't alone.  Rachel Blake's dad is a Marine, and that sacrifice hit home as she and other students worked for hours Wednesday to make the memorial. 

“I didn't really think about how my dad had served in the military but I did yesterday and that he was part of something bigger,” Blake said.

Melinda Hamilton, a social studies teacher, oversaw the project.  Her father is a Vietnam War veteran. When she and other teachers saw the work of the students on Thursday, they fought back tears. 

One of the teachers there is currently serving overseas as part of a National Guard unit. 

Hamilton couldn't help but think of her father. 

"My dad doesn't like to talk about his time in Vietnam, but this is a way for me to let him know how much he has been here even though he can't talk to me about it,” she said.

The memorial will remain up through the early part of next week.   The school plans on honoring the teacher who is currently serving in Kuwait when he returns in December.