In the middle of another busy day, what a privilege and joy this afternoon to pop into grandson Oliver’s school for a few minutes, to watch a Veteran’s Day tribute. I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be when I heard 500 elementary school kids reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, in unison, as my son Nate and I arrived.
The large group went on to give a stirring, and word perfect, recitation of the Preamble. If you want to be deeply moved, and feel American pride, listen to earnest youngsters chant together, “We the people, of the United States of America…”
Standing at the back of the crowded room, Nate and I watched as Oliver and the rest of Steadley’s third graders took the stage, all decked out in red, white and blue. They sang two songs, their clear beautiful voices filling the large room.
Dr. Barlow, principal extraordinaire, then introduced the veterans who were seated to the right of the children. One by one these men and women stood and shared their names, military branch, and years of service. The children or grandchildren of the veterans stood as their relatives stood. Greg, unfortunately, had to work today and couldn’t attend. What a great way for the kids, and the rest of us, to connect this day of recognition with faces, names and stories of men and women who served our country.
In a special tribute, called Armed Forces Medley, the veterans stood when their branch’s song played and their emblem was displayed. The Army had the most veterans represented, however, we cheered and applauded wildly for each branch.
Before the assembled children sang one final song together, the whole group stood and turning toward the veterans, offered a silent and heartfelt salute. I was undone. That act of love was such a respectful and gracious gesture. What an amazing lesson for 500 school kids and the adults gathered in the room. What a honoring tribute to the veterans present and to all who have served in the past and currently serve.
I needed to see and hear that assembly today. I needed to be with children who with pure hearts expressed gratitude through songs, applause and salutes, to those who served and protected our great country .
I left feeling patriotic and deeply grateful for the men and women who have given so much. I drove away humming God Bless America.