As we celebrate the Fourth of July weekend, Greg Madore is showing his respect to those who have served in the armed forces through his and his son’s caring for the U.S. flag at Horace Mann Child Development Center in Burbank.
Greg Madore is originally from East Windsor, CT, where his mother worked as an assessor at the city’s town hall. While in elementary school, he would often accompany his mother in raising the flag at the town hall every morning. Now a father to five-year-old Joseph Madore, Greg Madore has passed along this tradition to his young son. Each school day, the two of them together care for the U.S. flag at Horace Mann.
“It was something I did with [my mom], and it left a lasting impression on me as a kid,” Greg Madore said of preparing the U.S. flag. “It’s a small thing that I could do to help Joe appreciate the importance [of the flag] and serve a little bit.”
Greg Madore and Joseph Madore have handled the U.S. flag after every school day for the past two years. Horace Mann staff members raise the flag in the morning, and at pickup time Greg Madore and Joseph Madore carefully fold up the flag. Initially, this routine was only carried out by the two of them, but the ritual has over time extended to include other young students who have an interest in folding up the flag and returning it to its storing place at Horace Mann.
“You’ll see two or three kids holding on to either corner of the flag and [they] will fold it together,” Greg Madore said. “It’s just something fun that the kids don’t always get to do. So it’s the novelty of it combined with the education of it and the symbolism of it.”
Greg Madore, a Noon Rotary Club of Burbank member, says that there was initially no U.S. flag being displayed on the flagpole at Horace Mann when Joseph Madore began attending. He had an extra flag from past Rotary Club meetings, however, which was no longer needed for the club. He then approached Horace Mann staff with the notion of utilizing the flag for public presentation, and this procedure has continued ever since.
The only exception to their consistent contributions in caring for the flag was the break from in-person learning during COVID-19. From December to May, Greg Madore and Joseph Madore were not on campus at Horace Mann, and young Joseph Madore expressed to his father how he missed the social element of learning at the center, as well as the daily practice of preparing the flag for the next morning.
“He told me he missed doing it during that five-month [break],” Greg Madore said of Joseph Madore’s interest in caring for the flag. “He said, ‘When will I get back to school? I miss my friends. I miss folding the flag.’”
Joseph Madore will now be entering kindergarten this fall and moving on from Horace Mann. Recently, the Burbank YMCA was selected by the Burbank Board of Education as the new operator of Horace Mann, and Greg Madore says that he isn’t sure that the tradition will continue under new leadership amidst their absence.
Greg Madore has been happy to uphold this tradition during Joseph Madore’s time at Horace Mann, however, and hopes another child will continue with this project which holds great meaning to him. He’s had family members who have served in the military, and, more than a political message, taking care of the flag is his way of honoring U.S. veterans.
“I’ve talked to people about different political opinions and…I don’t always agree with the decisions that are made one way or another,” Madore said. “But I can at least do my best to show respect for…the military.”