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The colors of red, white and blue filled the Link Elementary World School on Thursday, November 15th. The students, families and staff showed their support and thanks to our Veterans during the “Honoring Our Hero Veterans” assembly. As a World school, an understanding of one’s own national values, freedoms, symbols and holidays supports a more global understanding and appreciation.
Prior to the assembly, the students participated in various learning experiences to gain further knowledge about Veteran’s Day and the Veterans themselves. As a home connection, the students and families of Link completed the task of finding a Veteran who is a family member, friend or acquaintance to honor. Each child received either a red or white heart where they wrote the name of the Veteran and either drew or pasted a picture.
Throughout the day of the assembly, the students attached their hearts to a very large American Flag template that was created by the school’s Art teacher, Mrs. Keuerleber. Once attached, the 428 Veteran hearts created the 13 red and white stripes of the American Flag. This student made flag was then presented at the assembly later that day (see photo).
Mrs. Cuccia, Link’s principal, began the assembly calling for the presentation of the colors by the New City VFW Color Guard, led by VFW Post 851 Commander, Migel Quesaba. Together with the Student Council members, the Color Guard led the students of Link in the Pledge of Allegiance. Each Student Council member spoke to their fellow students about Veterans.
Maya began to explain who Veterans are stating, “Veterans are risk-takers who are willing to risk their lives for us.” Gianna continued by speaking about the history of Veteran’s Day and explained to the children that Veteran’s Day, once called Armistice Day, was renamed so that all Veterans of all wars could be recognized. Another Student Council member connected her thoughts to our current situation with hurricane Sandy saying, “Veterans protect our country in many ways. For instance, when there is a natural disaster, many Veterans help by making sure everyone is prepared and safe.”
The student speeches concluded with some thoughts from James of why we should honor and thank Veterans. “They have left their heart on the battlefield knowing they are saving and protecting many lives. Veterans have been through hard training to protect what we are proud to call the USA!”
Collectively, the students and staff of Link then sang the “Star Spangled Banner,” accompanied by Mrs. Kimmel, Link’s music teacher.
The students and staff had the honor to listen to the stories of three guests speakers. Veteran Susan Branam (a Link parent) and Veteran brothers David and Edward Cahn, spoke of their experiences so that the children could make a real connection.
One Link fourth grader expressed, “It was really great to hear how brave and amazing these Veterans are. I learned that I really can be whatever I want to be as long as I work hard and believe in myself.”
In an action of support and admiration, the Student Council members presented each Veteran and Color Guard member with student made cards. Additional cards were given to the Veterans to which they decided to donate to the Veterans at the Montrose VA Nursing home. These are Veterans with substantial injuries from their time of service. Many of them have endured such hardships and this could be a way to lend a helping hand to lift the spirits of their fellow Veterans.
The assembly concluded with Ms. Calandrello, Link’s IBO PYP Coordinator, calling for the Color Guard to “Retire the Colors.” As the Color Guard and Veterans exited the assembly, the students once again honored them by singing “America The Beautiful.”
Overall, the event was one of the most meaningful and enjoyed by all members. Ms. Calandrello described the experience, “Link is a World School and as Global Citizens, we participate in many events and support numerous international projects as well as respect, celebrate and support our country.”