Student voices reverberated through the Inverness Primary School cafeteria on Thursday as youths sang their hearts out for dozens of local veterans of the nation’s armed services.
Staff and students of Inverness Primary welcomed roughly 100 veterans to say thank you at the school’s 22nd annual Veterans Day Celebration.
Mary Tyler, event organizer and Inverness Primary kindergarten teacher, said the annual event teaches the students to appreciate veterans and military personnel and their sacrifices made for America.
“The kids do understand our veterans had to sacrifice to protect us and keep us safe so we can have the freedoms we enjoy every day,” Tyler said. “This is wonderful for all of the community to come together.”
As members of every military branch walked into the school’s cafeteria, Tyler welcomed the crowd of veterans and their families, many of whom return every year to see a fresh crop of students dedicating an hour of performances to the country’s heroes.
“This is our thank you, it is very special,” Vietnam Army veteran Dan Tvenstrup said, “Plus, it’s pretty good.”
“For years we have been coming. This helps these children to know what Veterans Day is and exactly what patriotism means,” Tvenstrup’s wife, Donna, said.
Tyler narrated the “Table of Memories” as her class presented a POW/MIA empty chair ceremony on stage.
The Honor Guard of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4337 next demonstrated how to properly fold the flag, explaining each of the 13 steps required to nestle it into a tight triangle — the shape of a cocked hat, reminiscent of what soldiers who fought under George Washington wore.
Around the room, many were wiping away tears as kindergarteners performed “This Land is Your Land,” followed by the fourth- and fifth-grade chorus performing “I Love My Country,” and “Peace in Our Lives.”
The student winners of the Randy Allers Essay Contest were recognized and awarded trophies. The upper grades wrote essays, and the lower classes drew pictures welcoming home Vietnam veterans.
Riding that patriotic high, students lined up in the school’s long hallways נknown as the Hall of Heroes נthat lead to the Veterans Garden.
Some students clapped, some cheered, and nearly all whispered “thank you” as veterans walked by, exchanging high-fives and hugs.