© 2017 by Deran Wright. All rights reserved.

Reaching for Liberty and Learning                                               by Deran Wright

National School Public Relations Association  (NSPRA)

A traveling educational memorial to the crew of the space shuttle Challenger.

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) in 1985, the Flag of Learning and Liberty was designed incorporating the red, white and blue of the "Stars and Stripes," symbolizing America's historical belief in and reliance upon education. The flag features:

  • A horizontal red stripe across its top depicting the strength and vitality of a democratic way of life.

  • A blue stripe running horizontally along the bottom which represents the stability and opportunity made possible by a strong system of education.

  • A center field of white which conveys the virtue and aspiration of a nation of free people. The central focus of the flag is the emblem in the middle of the white field, featuring:

    • Two gold flames at the top - one for learning and one for liberty. These flames are supported by a base of four elements, arranged in alternating blue and red pairs.

    • The blue elements represent the two key foundations of strong education - high expectations and effective teaching.

    • The red elements symbolize the cornerstone institutions of a democratic society - responsible families and involved communities

Education Flag Part Of Display Symbol Was Carried By Christa Mcauliffe

December 6, 1990|By Laurin Sellers Of The Sentinel Staff

CAPE CANAVERAL — Teacher Christa McAuliffe died in the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger but the symbol of education that she took aboard lives on.

The Flag of Learning and Liberty that McAuliffe carried during the ill-fated flight is now part of a national display that will be featured at Kennedy Space Center during December.

That seven-foot granite display is topped by a bronze sculpture of children's hands reaching for the flag. On July 4, 1985, the red, white and blue flag became the first symbol of the link between education and a strong, free nation.

McAuliffe chose the flag as a symbolic keepsake for the mission and took 200 small flags with her. She had planned to use the flags during public appearances that were to follow the flight.

After the January 1986 explosion, NASA gave one of the flags to the National School Public Relations Association. It now is encased in a plaque on the display with photographs of the seven Challenger astronauts.

A copy of the sculpture was presented Nov. 14 to President Bush during a White House ceremony marking American Education Week.

The display was made possible by a grant to NSPRA from the Southland Corporation and was created by Deran Wright of Fort Worth, Texas.

It will be unveiled in Brevard on Friday at 4 p.m. in the Galaxy Center at KSC's Spaceport U.S.A.

Flag McAuliffe Took on Challenger Given Back to Its Designers

July 16, 1987|Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO, Tex. — A flag carried by teacher Sharon Christa McAuliffe aboard the space shuttle Challenger was returned Wednesday to an education group that designed it.

Dr. Robert Brown, director of the Educational Affairs Division of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, presented the tattered Flag of Learning and Liberty to the National School Public Relations Assn.

The flag was designed by the group in 1985 on the 50th anniversary of its founding.

Brown said the flag was among the items recovered after the Challenger exploded shortly after takeoff on Jan. 28, 1986, killing the seven-member crew, including the New Hampshire teacher.