Mulrennan Celebrates Veterans Day, Honors Teacher James W. Pope

Jaquette Pope wife is presented the American flag in memory of her husband, James W. Pope who was killed in a tragic car accident last month. Pope is survived by his wife, Jaquette, and sons Jayden and Jackson.

Creating a special human flag in celebration of veterans day has been a tradition at Mulrennan Middle School, featuring hundreds of students..
Sadly, this year, the highly-favored and proud tradition was retired  in honor of former History teacher, James W. Pope, who lost his life in a tragic car accident last month on his way to work, leaving behind his wife, Jaquette,  and sons Jayden and Jackson. 
While this year’s ceremony traditionally honored and celebrated the service of the nation’s men and women who have served in the United States military, the school devoted a large portion of the ceremony to honor Pope by recognizing his dedication to the school, community and his country.
“Today we have the opportunity to celebrate our country and celebrate our friend,” Mulrennan Middle School Principal Tim Ducker said, adding, “We are honored to have the Pope family with us today.”
The Mulrennan Middle School Human Flag Veterans Day celebration was first created and organized by Pope four years ago and will be replaced by a flag garden.
“In honor of Mr. Pope and our brave men and women in uniform, we have created the flag garden,” said Mulrennan Middle School social studies teacher Jonathan Watson.
Watson said that a week prior to the ceremony, the school began selling individual flags for $1 each to raise money to support the Jayden & Jackson Pope Fund, created for Pope’s two young sons.
During the memorial assembly, each student that purchased a flag was allowed to place his/her flag within the flag garden, in which Jaquette and the children also participated.
Placing his own flag in the garden, Jayden could be heard whispering the touching phrase, “Goodbye daddy,” bringing tears to the eyes of all present.    
Bringing the ceremony to a close, Jaquette was presented a flag in memory of her husband followed by some concluding comments by Ducker who said, “This is a solemn occasion that underscores Mulrennan Middle School’s commitment to patriots who serve our nation and community, both in and out of uniform.”
Besides the flag garden the school also created a Wall of Heroes within the Mulrennan cafeteria, where students, faculty, and staff posted pictures of family members and/or friends who have served in the military.
“We wanted to showcase Mulrennan’s veterans for all to see,” Watson added. For information about area schools and the various activities this holiday season, visit www.sdhc.k12.fl.us.