Show your support for Norwin veterans this Veterans Day

Norwin schools are proud to host annual Veterans Day assemblies to recognize the service of Norwin veterans. This year we are offering these navy blue shirts in both short and long sleeve to help show our support for these assemblies. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Pets for Vets of Pittsburgh, a local charity that brings together shelter pets with veterans who need a companion animal.

A Regrettable Update Regarding the Veterans Day Shirt Sale

October 8, 2022

Recently, the Norwin Alumni & Friends Association offered for sale t-shirts that were meant to help our students express their gratitude and support for local veterans during Norwin’s annual Veterans Day assemblies. The proceeds from this effort would have been shared between the Norwin Alumni & Friends Association’s scholarship fund, special programs fund, and Pets for Vets, a Pittsburgh-area charity that matches rescued companion pets with American veterans experiencing physical and emotional injuries that make the transition back to civilian life more difficult.

Revised design with additional stars to eliminate any possibility of confusion, however unlikely it may be.

Revised design with additional stars to eliminate any possibility of confusion, however unlikely it may be.

Thanks to the overwhelming support of the Norwin community, between 2018 and 2019, we were able to raise $700 for Pets for Vets, $250 for Norwin’s VFW Post 781, $250 for Wreaths Across America, and nearly $4000.00 for scholarships for graduating Norwin students and Summer Camps.

As was done in 2018 and 2019, these shirts included a respectful, stylized representation of the American flag. There is a long tradition of using such representations in lieu of the American flag in American art, culture, and apparel designs. This year, we used a design that highlighted a single star in the union–the blue canton field–with modified colors and four red stripes that mimicked a flag waving in the wind. This was done to ensure that the design was bold and instantly recognizable from a distance, even at a small size such as would be printed on children’s t-shirts.

2018 shirt design with stylized representation of the American flag for comparison.

2018 shirt design with stylized representation of the American flag for comparison.

Regrettably, a single complaint was made alleging that this was a representation of the flag of the Republic of Liberia–a flag that bears strong similarities to that of the United States–and as such, may be offensive. Although we strongly disagree with this interpretation on multiple grounds–including that the canton’s proportions are those of the American flag as well as the modified colors that do not match the Liberian flag but are a common design choice in such representations –and we believe that context makes it explicitly clear to any who view this shirt that it symbolizes support for the veterans of the United States of America and is in no way offensive, we nevertheless decided to make a minor modification to the design to include nine stars in the canton so as to resolve any possibility of confusion, however unlikely it may be. Many examples of comparable stylized representations of the American flag with either a single star or fewer than fifty can be readily found online.

2019 shirt design with stylized representation of the American flag overlaying the contintental United States for comparison.

2019 shirt design with stylized representation of the American flag overlaying the contintental United States for comparison.

Unfortunately, we were informed that due to this complaint, only a shirt design that includes the American flag, rather than a stylized representation, would be approved by the school district. Although we understand the district’s reasoning, this would represent a significant change from the t-shirt that hundreds of Norwin families have already purchased and would require us to reach out to all families who have purchased shirts for approval of a new design prior to finalizing the order with the printer.

We are unable to do so in the time remaining if we want the shirts to be delivered prior to Veterans Day. Given these time constraints, the Norwin Alumni & Friends Association has no choice but to make the heartbreaking decision to cancel all shirt orders and refund all payments. We cannot apologize enough for this decision, and hope that it will not cause too much disappointment for the children looking forward to wearing their shirts during Norwin’s Veterans Day assemblies.

Although we will look for other opportunities to raise funds to help expand the size and number of our scholarships and thus hope that our efforts will not be hampered by this decision, this decision means that we will unfortunately be unable to support Pets for Vets this year. It is our hope that members of the Norwin community who are in a position to do so might be willing to donate directly to them in order to help veterans with their transition back to civilian life, with more information available at their website. Although we are forced by circumstance, this decision is ours alone and has nothing to do with Pets for Vets, who are only the chosen recipients of the Norwin community’s love and generosity.

With our humblest apologies,

The Board of Directors of the Norwin Alumni & Friends Association