MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
Students from Matthew C. Perry Elementary School gathered in the school’s gymnasium during the morning of Nov. 6, 2013, for a ceremony to honor veterans.
“Since we won’t be in school on Veterans Day, we wanted to celebrate the day to make sure students understand how important this day is,” said Dr. Suzanne Landrum, M.C. Perry Elementary School principal. “We put together an assembly to bring everyone together, sing and celebrate together.”
Col. Bob Boucher, station commanding officer, and Sgt. Maj. Keith Massi, station sergeant major, were guests of honor for the ceremony.
The assembly started with the presentation of the national colors by the school’s junior reserve officer training corps color guard and singing of the national anthem. Then, Chris Kimmey, M.C. Perry Elementary School music teacher, led the students as they sang, “You’re a Grand Old Flag” and “Oh, I Love America.”
Once the assembly finished, students lined up to go to the tree, located in the front of the school, for the highlight of the ceremony; hanging their ornaments on the tree for all to see.
“What makes this tree so special is that it’s done by young children,” said Landrum. “All of the ornaments are handmade for veterans and it creates the opportunity for the children to show how proud they are of their families.”
Landrum added that she gave the veterans who work at M.C. Perry a dog tag decorated as an American flag, acknowledging them for their service.
At the 11th hour during the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918, fighting ceased under an armistice between Allied nations and Germany, ending “the war to end all wars.”
Eventually becoming a legal holiday in 1938, Armistice Day was a day to honor veterans of World War I, but after Americans fought during World War II and the Korean War, Veterans Day was in 1954 approved as a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
In his 2013 Veterans Day Message, John Mitchell, American Veterans national commander, ends his message by saying, “On this Veterans Day, honor those who have made America strong and free. Remember that America’s veterans epitomize a great cause, and whether they live in honor among us, or rest in valor below, they have earned our eternal gratitude.”
Today, Americans, young and old, continue to honor the day with ceremonies and celebrations, and the children of M.C. Perry did just that.