Mason's school 5th grade put on the most wonderful program for Veterans Day this year. We invited both Grandpa and Papa Kay to come be part of the day. Grandpa was planning to be there, but Grandma ended up having open heart surgery a few days prior, so he was unable to make it to the event. Papa Kay came, though, and it was a really awesome morning!
First, we met with Mason's team (2 classes put together), and the veterans belonging to the students on the team each took about 2-3 minutes to tell about their military experience. This was an impressive group of men and women, who have served all over the world, many in combat. These are the best of the best, right here.
Papa Kay told the classes about his military experience. He served in the Army, and then the reserves, from 1960-1966. He talked about working in ordnance supply, and then a little about his time as a smoke jumper (although not technically the military, it does involve jumping out of planes!). His talk was very inspiring, and Mason was pretty proud to have him there!
The students had each prepared a poem or other written work about veterans, and they had a moment to give their "gift of writing" to a veteran. Mason and a few of his friends gave theirs to Gordon.
There was an awesome display, with pictures and service information for the veterans from each class team. I had sent in pictures of both my dad and Gordon for the display, so we looked for them. I'm so glad my dad was included, although he couldn't be present for the program.
|That's my dad, the day he came home from boot camp, in his parents' family room.|
|Doesn't Gordon look so handsome?|
|This gives you an idea of the display. This was just one wall of many, and that lady photobombed my shot.|
|I took another, but it was blurry. My phone doesn't do well indoors.|
After the in-class portion, the veterans and their student escorts went on a parade/walk though the school. The 4th and 6th grade classes came out to line the hallways and cheer for our veterans. Gordon said he couldn't believe how many students there were!
Inside the gym, we waited for the veterans and their student escorts to make it back. Family members sat on the bleachers, and the veterans sat on the chairs on the floor. The 5th grade students sat in the bleachers on the other side (and some on our side as well). It was a very full house! I can see why the program is just for 5th grade students. They simply couldn't fit everyone in there at once, otherwise.
A student choir sang some special musical numbers, and there was a slide presentation of the students' descriptions of veterans in three words only, set to music. For example, "Brave, True Patriots" or "Courage, Honor, Strong." Then the winners of the poetry contest read their poems.
Toward the end of the program, one of the veterans (a Marine from Mason's class, in fact, who fought in Korea) asked if he could say a few words. Apparently, this had never been done before, but the principal was cool with it. So he stood up and took the mike and said this had been the most wonderful veterans day presentation he'd ever witnessed. He thanked the students and their teachers. There weren't too many dry eyes in there, at least among the adults.
|Look at that crowd! We love our veterans.|
At the end of the program, Mason went back to class and I stayed nearby while Gordon talked to a fellow vet he'd been seated with during the program. Gordon is always one to strike up a conversation! While I was waiting, I noticed this gentleman - a WWII veteran who served in Japan, in his full uniform. Everyone wanted to shake his hand and thank him for his service (me, too!). He was rather spunky and seemed to be enjoying the day.
It was really a fantastic program. I left feeling uplifted and so very proud of our country and the amazing men and women who are willing to lay down their lives to defend it. We owe them a debt of gratitude indeed.