There was a stirring burst of patriotism at Washington Primary School as military veterans and family members gathered in the school gym for a pair of assembly programs to celebrate Veterans Day last Friday morning.
Washington kindergarten and first grade students performed at the first of the two assemblies followed by another session for second and third graders. The youngsters read poems and sang songs. Many of the veterans wore jackets, hats or other apparel identifying them with their branch of service.
With Principal Michelle Richards serving as the event’s host, an honor guard consisting of Washington students who are in the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts presented the colors before a full student chorus led the crowd in the singing of the Star Spangled Banner. Each youngster was given a small American flag for the event and students took delight in waving it back and forth. It was a colorful and downright awesome sight.
Most of the students were positioned on a set of choral risers placed along the front of the stage. The honor guard positioned itself between the risers and chairs set up in neat rows for parents, grandparents and veterans, who all beamed throughout the two assembly programs.
“The children sang loudly and recited their poems enthusiastically,” Dr. Richards said. “Everyone looked patriotic in their red, white and blue attire. They really put their heart into it.”
Teachers prepped their students in advance so the recitation of poems and the singing of patriotic songs came off without a hitch. “It was absolutely lovely,” Dr. Richards exclaimed.
A small group of parents worked along with Dr. Richards to make the event a success. Superintendent James W. Polansky was among those in the crowd celebrating the service of the veterans gathered in the school gym.
Red and white and blue bunting adorned the stage curtain. Dr. Richards presented each of the veterans in attendance with a certificate of appreciation on behalf of the Washington Primary School community. The vets lined up in front of the students and received a big round of applause.
Veterans Day traces its roots to Armistice Day, which commemorated the end of World War I, which at the time was referred to as “the war to end all wars.” The Allies and Germany entered into an armistice on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month or November 11, 1918.
Following World War II and the Korean War, veteran’s service organizations encouraged Congress to change the word “armistice” to “veterans” so the special day would honor every American veteran of every war.
Washington School students made the veterans in the audience last Friday morning feel especially appreciated. The group left the building with an extra spring in their respective step.