Red, white, and blue stars lined the gymnasium walls of Bethel’s William Bick Primary School at a veteran’s celebration assembly Nov. 8.
“This is our second annual Veteran’s Day celebration,” said Principal Matt Wagner. “We as a building are here to once again recognize and honor our local community veterans.”
In honor of Veteran’s Day, the kindergarten through second grade students at William Beck spent a week preparing and organizing the celebration, said veteran’s committee chair and teacher Angie Eads.
“The students have been enthusiastic and very excited to get this unique opportunity to thank every veteran for the past and future sacrifices they have made,” she said. “The celebration is for children to learn of the cost of the freedoms that they enjoy every day. That cost has and is still being paid for by the individual men and women that serve in the armed forces.”
The assembly was attended by more than 60 people – some 30 veterans came in full dress uniform – and consisted of a slide-show, individual veteran recognition, student skits and oral essays, and patriotic tunes.
The second graders enthusiastically waved miniature American flags in the air while singing “You’re a Grand Old Flag” and “When The Flag Goes By.”
In his written essay, second grade student Jordan Newberry thanked the veterans by simply saying “Thank you veterans, you guys rock!”
Addressing the students was featured guest speaker United States Navy Reserves BM3 and 1995 Bethel High School graduate Nick Hertzer.
“We have choices in America because we have freedom in America,” he said. “Today, you have chosen to remember past and present veterans. We have freedom and choices in this country because we have fought for this freedom and defended it since the republic was formed.”
When asked why people join the military, Hertzer responded, “For you. We join the military to protect all of you gathered here today. You, your families, and your friends.”
Hertzer further explained that in many ways, military life can be very ironic.
“The irony of military life is that as military members, we lose and give up many of the freedoms and rights that we are fighting to preserve for you. Many veterans know what it is like to sleep in a desert tent in a strange country thousands of miles away from home. We make these sacrifices to ensure that you can go home every night and sleep safely in your own beds at home.”
At the celebration’s conclusion, Hertzer told the students that the best way to thank a veteran is to continually show respect for the country, the flag, and, most importantly, each other.
“Boys and girls, the most thanks that we veterans receive is just knowing that you are safe every day.”