OSWEGO – Thanking and honoring U.S. military veterans daily was the message heard loud and clear during Leighton Elementary School’s annual Veterans Day assembly.
Students from grades pre-kindergarten to six were dressed in America’s colors of red, white and blue and they proudly clapped and cheered for dozens of veteran guests as they entered the school gymnasium for the ceremony.
Interim Principal Louis Chistolini welcomed everyone and told the student body how lucky they and the adults in the room were to be in the presence of men and women who sacrificed so much to ensure others’ freedoms.
Jim Hartmann, event organizer and FLS sixth grade teacher, explained the importance of the Pledge of Allegiance before students, staff members and the veterans recited it together.
Veterans Day, Hartmann said, is just one day to honor those who served in the military.
He suggested students could honor veterans by standing for the Pledge of Allegiance each day, sing patriotic songs or simply thank veterans for their service when they see them in the community.
Students presented their veteran guests with a flag pin before student council representatives read information they researched on each of the five military branches: Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Air Force.
Each grade level also sang the respective branch’s song.
Bradley Trudell, who retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2008 after 28 years of service, served as guest speaker.
“It’s so great to see patriotic Americans and young people who are so respectful,” he said. “Be the kind of person that makes the sacrifice worth doing; do the right thing for the right reason and I guarantee you that will come back to you.”
Following the ceremony, classes took turns rotating through various stations to better understand veterans and military service.
Stations included: physical fitness challenges, a virtual field trip, crafts, letter writing to veterans, a veteran guest speaker and an MRE sample station.