Students plant 10,000 flags at elementary school to honor fallen veterans

Students planted 10,000 flags on a Georgia school's lawn, all to honor a fallen veteran close to a community member's heart.

Christina Garrett, a teacher's aide at the Van Wert Elementary School in Rockmart, was determined to put together a touching Veterans Day display to honor her late husband, Sergeant William Garrett.

On Monday, Garrett arrived at the school at the crack of dawn, and started planting American flags in the lawn.

As students and staff started trickling in for the school day, some stopped to give her a hand.

"A lot of kids don't know what the true meaning of Veterans Day is," she said. "Them helping out and getting to explain what the day means, and why they're putting the flags out kind of helps everybody learn."

With the help of 30 or 40 volunteers, they were able to complete the placement of 10,000 flags two days, and 20 hours later.

"It's breath taking," Principal Shannon Hulsey said. "If it doesn't bring a tear to your eye then I don't know what would, because it's very emotional."

But, for Garrett, the flags only depicted a small portion of her gratitude to the men and women who have served the country.

"To me, it seemed so small compared to what the veterans did," she said.

She told that her husband served in both Afghanistan and Iraq with the military's Special Operations.

It was during a brief visit home that he collapsed, Garrett said.

"He collapsed. He passed away almost immediately," she said. "They're saying he acquired something by either eating or inhaling it while he was in Iraq that attacked the outside of his heart, and shut his organs down."

At the time, Garrett was raising their 11-month old daughter, and was 8 months pregnant with their son, who now only knows his father through stories.

"It was a way for my kids and I to honor his memory, and also teach them how to respect our veterans that are still here today," she said.

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