BUFFALO — The American flag that flies in front of Buffalo Elementary School is not only the symbol of the United States of America but a memorial to a beloved teacher who died earlier this year.
The students and staff of Buffalo Elementary gathered around the flagpole Monday morning for a flag dedication ceremony during which the school’s old flag was lowered and a new one raised. Before being raised at BES, the flag flew over the Pentagon as part of an effort to honor a long-time teacher who died in September.
“Earlier in the school year we lost a very special lady, Mrs. Melinda Robinson who died unexpectedly on Sept. 11,” Principal Melissa Inman said. “She was a third grade teacher who had been with the school 17 years.”
Inman said that in the months following Robinson’s death, she and the rest of the staff looked for some special way to honor her memory. She said Monday’s ceremony grew out of that effort and an idea by the husband of another teacher.
“Mrs. Caviness, a fifth grade teacher, is in charge of our flag team, and her husband, Lt. Col. Buddy Caviness, who currently serves at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, were thinking about how we wanted a special way to honor Mrs. Robinson,” Inman said. “So he came up with the idea of a special flag that flew over the Pentagon.
“The flag was flown over the Pentagon specifically for Buffalo Elementary School in memory of Mrs. Robinson,” she said. “That was the flag we raised today.”
The flag, along with a plaque, was presented by Lt. Col. Caviness during the ceremony after the old flag had been lowered. It was received by the captain of the school’s flag team which together unfolded it, attached it, and then raised it.
The ceremony also included a reading of remarks about Robinson by some of her former students:
• “She loved me. She would tell me she did. She was the best teacher ever. She taught me in second grade and she loved me then too. She was very nice. Even though she is gone I will still love her.” — Cameron
• “This is Kaitlyn Cornelison and I wanna say what I liked about Mrs. Robinson. She’s a very good teacher. I had her as a teacher for two years. I wonder about her dog Oscar and all of her family. I miss Mrs. Robinson. She is missed by all of us.” — Kaitlyn
Robinson’s husband Marty, her son Jacob, daughter Marah, and father, Buddy Freeman, were also presented with a plaque. After the ceremony the family spoke with some of the children in attendance and Inman said that Marty Robinson told her that he was there because he wanted to see how the children were doing.
Inman also spoke during the ceremony.
“We would like to honor Mrs. Melinda Robinson as a friend, teacher, mother, and wife,” Inman said. “She represented what we all strive to do each day, make a difference in the life of one child. This flag will fly each day and as it does we will remember the influence of Mrs. Melinda Robinson on the lives of many who have passed through the halls of Buffalo Elementary School.”
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com