Old Glory flies again at OLSAT
By Errol Castens Daily Journal
OXFORD – People driving along Highway 7 or looking southeastward from Baptist Memorial Hospital used to see a huge American flag above the Oxford-Lafayette School of Applied Technology.
Severy years ago, OLSAT’s flag disappeared. Weathered beyond dignity, it was retired, and budget constraints pushed a new one down the list of priorities.
“It’s been four or five years,” said school counselor Lynn Sloan. “It’s a high-ticket item.”
Tuesday, a new Stars and Stripes – a 20 feet by 30 feet – was raised over the tucked-away campus, thanks to Oxford and Lafayette County governments’ sharing the $800 cost.
“The board of Alderman and the Board of Supervisors are responsible for the purchase of the flag,” said Marybeth Lowrey, vocational director for the school.
Lowrey said the idea for a new flag originated with Sloan, who made contacts with local officials. During the ceremony, Lowrey refreshed audience members’ memories of the flag’s symbolism – 13 red and white stripes representing the original colonies that banded to fight for liberty and 50 stars in the canton of blue symbolizing today’s 50 states.
Symbolizing the joint city-county effort, Marine Junior ROTC cadets from Oxford High School joined their Air Force Junior ROTC counterparts from Lafayette High School to unfold Old Glory to its full width and length. Tow cadets, Emma Pittman and Piper Dunn, sand “The Star Spangled Banner” as the flag was being hoisted.
Lowrey and Will St. Amand, a neighbor and supporter of the school, laughed at the remembering weather kept the school’s original flag from being hoisted for days after its “flag-raising” ceremony.
“We’re lucky today that the wind is not blowing,” St. Amand said. “That day, the wind practically picked me up off the ground.”