And all of that was preceded by a lot of learning.
Phoenix Middle’s School salute to veterans Thursday night.
“Tonight’s event serves as a warm-up for all of tomorrow’s activities,” said principal Mark Weerts.
Today, each of the district’s five schools will hold a program honoring veterans—five programs more than any other district in the area.
Thursday’s program was presented by Tim Foster’s sixth grade class and included singing, square dancing, and shared slices of American history and life.
Sure, some of the square dancing was accompanied by giggling, but it didn’t hurt the quality of the program.
Many of Foster’s 11- and 12-year-olds seemed to understand the seriousness of veterans’ sacrifice.
“We treat our country with respect and this is just a form of respect for the veterans,” said Briahna Cardences, 12.
Cardences proudly announced that her stepdad served in the Army.
Other students talked about how much more they knew about veterans’ lives and about the sacrifices their families made.
Drinton Ademi, 11, talked about the service flag that families hang in windows.
“The stars show how many people are serving,” Ademi said. “A golden star means somebody died. I never saw that in windows or anything, but now I keep my eye out for it.”
Brock Deschner, 11, learned soliders made up funny songs such as “Tobacco Box”—an odd pastime for men in the middle of the war.
“It was for when the soldiers had too much time on their hands,” said Ybeth Gloria.
They also learned the flag etiquette basics.
“The American flag goes first, from right, because it’s the most important flag,” said Deschner. “The Wisconsin flag is next.”
Then the students all added the last four, their voices clambering over one another: “Army, Marine, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard.”
The program ended with “This Land is Your Land.”
Afterward, the veterans joined the students on stage for photos.
The veterans smiled. The kids beamed—and stood up a little straighter.