Catrice Green, a student at Rosemont Elementary School, thought it was just great being a part of a stripe in the American flag.
"I feel like I am a star," said Shanee Monroe, a senior at City College and president of the student council who was one of the flag's stars. "To be any part of this celebration for the flag is a lifelong experience."
An estimated 3,400 elementary and high school students agreed yesterday that being a part of a human flag was exciting, fun and quite a privilege.
The students from the Baltimore area, as well as teachers and other volunteers, held up red, white and blue placards to create a 117-foot-by-262-foot flag as part of the Living Flag Ceremony at Fort McHenry.
Catrice's teacher, Beverly Kulick, is an eight-year veteran of the event.
"We've been coming to this in the rain, the shine, the mud, and even the cold, but it's been a lot of fun every year. We always have a wonderful time," Ms. Kulick said.
The National Flag Day Foundation started the Living Flag Ceremony in 1984 in recognition of the human flag created by Baltimore students in 1914 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the composition of "The Star-Spangled Banner."
The organizers hope that the annual event will promote "The Pause for the Pledge," at 7 p.m. June 14, in which all Americans are encouraged to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
Besides the elementary schoolchildren who made up the stripes in the flag, 50 middle school and high school students had the honor of holding up the stars. The students had been nominated by principals and superintendents of each school district based on merit, exemplary behavior and leadership skills.
Overall, the event went smoothly, except for two broken stars that forced the group to only use 48 stars instead of 50.
"The hardest part of the day was getting the buses in and out," said Ron McCarty, one of the coordinators.
"Every year the number of volunteers doubles and things get easier to handle. It gets better and better each year and everyone has a even better time than last year," he said.
"This program is one of national unity," said Lou Koerber, president of the National Flag Day Foundation. "The gathering of all these students, teachers, principals and volunteers is a symbol of the patriotic unity displayed throughout the country."
"We're trying to start a new tradition," he added. "It is our hope that every state in America will eventually join us and have their own living flag."