Tom McCloud of Waynesboro has made it his mission to have the national motto "In God We Trust" placed in area schools.
On Tuesday, he got to see the Wall of Freedom at Greencastle-Antrim Primary School. It is designed around the motto and features copies of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights and Emancipation Proclamation.
McCloud and Duane Schroyer, representing Greencastle's Harry D. Zeigler VFW Post 6319, which paid for the installation, also learned how it will be used as a learning tool with the help of four second-graders.
Nicholas Bowers, Xavier Carey, Maci Bishop and Isla Coy met with McCloud and Schroyer, along with Angela Singer, principal, and Kevin Carley, assistant principal, at the display.
The students learned that Schroyer served with the Army for more than 20 years, including during the Vietnam War; Singer's father was in the Air Force for 26 years; and their assistant principal was in the Coast Guard for four years. Carley told them he did not fight in an actual war, but he fought the drug war.
McCloud explained the origin of the national motto, which has a Pennsylvania connection and was made official by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1956.
Before their visitors arrived, the students had been asked to do some quick research on the four documents and shared what they learned.
Nicholas named some of the signers and called the Declaration of Independence "the most important thing in the United States."
The U.S. Constitution was signed on Sept. 17, 1787, and Maci said, "Constitution day is the day of the birth of the U.S. government."
The Bill of Rights is a list of freedoms, including speech and religion, according to Isla.
Xavier's research included some information about the Civil War. He said President Abraham Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation and "it declared that all slaves were free."
McCloud said it is good to see the Wall of Freedom in place and to know that teachers have posted the national motto in their rooms.
"We're just getting started," Singer said.
The second-graders' research will be turned into video clips that will be shown in all classrooms and teachers will bring their students to visit the Wall of Freedom.
"On behalf of the VFW, the American Legion and all veterans, I want to say how refreshing it is that this school and others in this area are displaying these documents," Schroyer said. "Too many schools are teaching the wrong way and hatred of the United States, instead of love of country and patriotism."
McCloud's efforts to get "In God We Trust" posted in schools and municipal buildings started in Waynesboro. He approached the Greencastle-Antrim School Board about it earlier this year, and the board approved his proposal in April.
The documents are now displayed in all four schools at no cost to the district, thanks to funding from the VFW.
McCloud, who is now talking with the Tuscarora School District, said his chance at military service ended with a failed eye exam in New Cumberland in 1966.
"You're serving in a different way," Schroyer said, thanking McCloud.