Flag Ceremony Honors Fallen Gulfport Seabee - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

04/07/05

Flag Ceremony Honors Fallen Gulfport Seabee

A Thursday flag raising ceremony never had so much significance at Three Rivers Elementary.

The banner that flew over the school is extra special for the children. It flew over the camp where their fallen hero, Seabee Joel Baldwin, was stationed in Iraq.

"Mr. Baldwin will always hold a special place in our heart. He gave from his heart and he truly exemplified the "can-do" attitude of the Seabees and of all of his close friends, family, as well as his daughter," teacher Pam Datlof said.

His daughter is nine-year-old Cali, a gifted student at the school. She wrote a poem in honor of the occasion.

"Red is for passion. Blue stands for the sky, up so high. White is new, that's how I feel about my flag. It's so real," Cali Baldwin read.

Cali said it felt good to see so many people at the ceremony "because they all love my dad and I love him too".

Her mom, Claudia Baldwin, said the children are what touched her the most about Thursday's ceremony.

"The children and their role. Just knowing how important my daughter was to my husband, and all these children have parents as well that are part of that."

For the mother and daughter, and all the children at Three Rivers, the symbol of freedom will serve as a reminder of Seabee Baldwin's service and sacrifice.

The flag will fly over Three Rivers Elementary for about a week, then the school will retire it to its permanent home, mounted in a glass case in the school lobby.

by Trang Pham-Bui

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