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American Flag Presented to Crimson Tide Football Team


Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Coach Mike Shula with American flag
Coach Shula accepts the flag from Dr. Susan Bagby

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. --- Dr. Susan Bagby, Coordinator of University Child Care Services at The University of Alabama, presented to coach Mike Shula and the Tide football team today, an American flag flown in Iraq by her son, 1st Sergeant John V. Bagby.  Bagby is currently serving with the 173rd Airborne in Iraq.  In March, he was one of approximately 900 soldiers to parachute into northern Iraq to secure an airfield near Kirkuk.

"It is only appropriate that we honor our American servicemen today on Veterans Day," said Shula.  "They are involved in defending our country in true life and death situations.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to the service men and women, and their families. We offer our heartfelt thanks to each and every one of them."

"The flag was flown in Iraq," Dr. Bagby said, "and my son wanted to present it to the Alabama football team. He is a career military soldier, but when he retires, he wants to return to Tuscaloosa and get his degree from The University of Alabama.  John has been an avid Bama football fan for over 20 years and in an effort to display his loyalty and support, asked me to present the flag to the football team.  

"John was stationed at Marion Institute two years ago.  During that assignment, he and selected Marion cadets served as ushers at the home games.  He is currently working with Iraqi nationals to restore educational facilities to the region.  Recently, he solicited the help of his hometown newspaper, The St. Clair News Aegis, who wrote a series of articles enlisting the help of various citizens' groups in the Pell City area, to send needed school supplies to Iraqi children. This appeal was very successful and resulted in a number of contributions to this cause.  Although he has only taken one class at Alabama, his hope upon retirement is to complete his undergraduate degree."

Sgt. Bagby served the Army in Desert Storm, Iraq and in many other assignments during his 21 years of military service.  He is a 1982 graduate of Pell City High School.