US Soldier Flies American Flag to Honor Her Teacher Who Had a Huge Impact on Her Life

A National Guard Soldier flies an American Flag to honor her teacher who had a huge impact on her life following the September 11th attacks

Paul Kirby isn’t exactly known as an emotional guy – after all he grew up on the Range, coached high school football and he’s a US Marine. Yet the gift of an American flag that once flew within a stone’s throw of the enemy in Afghanistan definitely got him.

Kirby teaches sixth grade at Jacobson Elementary School in Rush City. Last month a member of the National Guard 850th Horizontal Engineer Company, Sgt. Chelsea Peterson, came to visit his class. Peterson talked to the class about her 10-month deployment to Afghanistan and what the American Flag means here and overseas.

Paul Kirby & Sgt. Chelsea Peterson
Sgt. Chelsea Peterson presents her 6th grade teacher, Paul Kirby, with an American Flag flown on Afghani Soil.

But Kirby’s class was no random 6th grade classroom; Peterson is a former student of Kirby’s. In fact, she was part of his first class he ever taught. This class formed a unique bond as they all huddled around the TV, watching the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks unfold.

From that day on Chelsea was greatly impacted by her former teacher and friend. So, 12 years later she returned with a US flag to honor a man who had such a large impact on her life and her choice to enter the US Armed Forces.

Paul Kirby teaches sixth grade


Peterson presented Kirby with the flag, folded and encased with a special plaque. Also included was a certificate that read:

“These Stars and Stripes were proudly flown … at the request of Sgt. Chelsea Peterson for view of the enemies of the United States. This flag represents the American resolve following the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11, 2001, and bears witness to the destruction of terrorist forces threatening the Freedom of the United States of America and the world.”

Kirby is the only military veteran on staff at his school. He started teaching after spending four years in the US Marine Corps. After receiving the American flag he said, “It was an emotional reminder of the sacrifices that the men and women of our Armed Forces continue to selflessly make in defense of freedom.”

Source: ECM Post Review

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