JACKSONVILLE, N.C. --
Patriotism is one of the tools that have crafted this country from the raw timber of the early 18th century settlements, carrying forth through the coming centuries to the modern America of today. The love for one’s country and military burns bright in the hearts of many Americans where the pride and admiration of their land is weathered by no storm.
Age is irrelevant when it comes to having patriotism, and many young boys and girls of the Onslow County area displayed such emotions of patriotism when droves of school children came together at the Carolina Forest Elementary School in Jacksonville, N.C. to break a world record in honor of November’s Month of the Military Family, Nov. 3.
“We are attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the largest human yellow ribbon,” said Helen Gross, principal of CFE. “For that, we need more than 2,400 people, all of whom are coming from all over town to help out.”
The current record, held by Fort Knox, was nearly broken last year by the elementary school and participants, but fell slightly short. This year, however, school children from elementary schools to high schools throughout the town, as well as various civilian and military supporters, came out to aid in the ribbon.
“It’s events like this that show us how much people really care about what we do,” said Sgt. Beatriz Featherstone, supply administrator with Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. “You hear about all the negative comments toward the military from some people, but you don’t see any of them in this community. These people care about the military members and what they go through.”
In a military-heavy Onslow County community, the presence of military children and family members is heavily felt – 50 percent of the student body is military children.
“Even for those who are not affiliated with the military at all but still live here, they realize how hard it can be for a military family,” said Sandra Davis, a kindergarten teacher with CFE. “This world record attempt isn’t being done to get our names in the books, but to try and give something back to those who give so much for us.”
Hence, on a sunny autumn afternoon, hundreds of yellow-shirted individuals flocked to the field next to the elementary school to gather inside the painted confines of the ribbon figure’s outline – measured and mapped by Marines of 2nd Intelligence Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force. Participants stood within the ribbon’s confines and waved for the camera, coming together not only to break a record, but to also pay tribute to all service members who ensure their freedom.
“We need to thank the Marines for saving our country,” said an enthusiastic third grader. “They’ve made us free, and that’s why we’re doing this – to thank them and let them know they’re important.”
At the end of the day, CFE fell short of the goal with 1,200 participants, yet regardless of the outcome, the purpose of the attempt resounded strongly. The men, women and children made their message clear: those in the community strongly support their military brethren and will keep on holding appreciation events for those in uniform.