First graders at Neuse Charter School in Smithfield gathered on Wednesday to be presented a miniature American Flag. It was part of a larger presentation to the school by a group of US veterans know as the Forty & Eight. The Johnston County Forty & Eight Chapter is committed to charitable and patriotic duties.
On Wednesday, the group presented Neuse Charter Executive Director Dr. Julie Jailall two full-size American flags to be displayed. Dr. Jailall said the school did not have any full size flags with display stands for use. During the last school graduation, a flag had to be borrowed from a nearby church for the ceremony. Ken Stith, with the Johnston County Forty & Eight chapter, told Dr. Jailall they would never have to borrow a flag again.
Dr. Jailall said the school has a policy to display the flag and for students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
Ken Parker, commander, answered questions from the first graders, including how to properly handle the flag. Johnston County Commissioner Chairman Tony Braswell, who is also chairman of the NC Veterans Affairs Commission, was on hand for the presentation.
History Of The Forty & Eight
The title of the Forty & Eight reflect its World War I origins. Americans were transported to the frontlines on French trains in rail cars labeled “40/8”, meaning the car had the capacity to hold either forty men or eight horses. This uncomfortable mode of transportation was familiar to all who fought in the trenches; a common small misery among American soldiers who thereafter found “40/8” a lighthearted symbol of the deeper service, sacrifice and unspoken horrors of war that bind all who have borne the battle.
The Forty & Eight was founded in 1920 by American veterans returning from France. Originally an arm of The American Legion, the Forty & Eight became an independent and separately incorporated veteran’s organization in 1960. Membership is by invitation of honorably discharged veterans and honorably serving members of the United States Armed Forces.