Elementary schools thank veterans
Marion Springs Elementary School Principal Gus Wegner was joined by his daughter for the second-annual Veterans Day celebration Friday.
Wegner, a Marines Corp veteran, was once again part of the Marion Springs Veteran's Day observance. But this year, Ellen Wegner, Lawrence, came to MSES to introduce her father.
"That was really nice," G. Wegner said. "She knew what to say and hopefully she was proud that I was in the Marines."
Students, many of who were related, introduced all 17 veterans at MSES.
"It was fun," veteran Roger Dressler said. "I'm excited that they are teaching the kids about veterans. It's a neat deal."
The number of attendees was up from 12 last year, which was the first year for the celebration at MSES.
"It was a nice number this year," G. Wegner said. "I know the veterans were happy about how they were received. They were proud of how the kids remembered them."
Marion Springs was not the only elementary school in the district that celebrated Veterans Day. Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center invited all veterans and military personnel to have lunch at the building Friday.
BESIC Principal Tom Mundinger said there were between 70 and 75 veterans at the school for lunch, which was a few more than last year.
"I was thrilled," Mundinger said. "It's a great day. I told the secretaries if we had to cut back on all of our activities and pick one to do the whole year, Veterans Day would be the one I would pick to keep. I think the veterans truly appreciate the recognition, respect and honor that the kids show them."
Mundinger went on to say that he really enjoys the celebration, because it allows the students to meet real-life veterans.
"It gives the kids the opportunity to put someone's grandpa, dad or brother to that vision of what a veteran is," Mundinger said. It's real people, real faces and real names. It makes it much more real to them, because these guys are actually carrying a lunch tray through their cafeteria."
At noon on Friday, the BESIC fifth graders sang the song "American Tears" to everyone in the cafeteria.
"It's an emotional song anyway when you listen to the kids sing," Mundinger said. "It's their way of saying thank you to all of the veterans for what they have done. Then you throw in the fact that actual veterans are sitting out there that have been through the fighting, it's emotional."
The MSES fifth graders once again read the book "America's White Table" in a readers-theater format to the audience. One difference for the reading was the set up of the chairs.
"We had a better idea of what to do this year," Wegner said. "We arranged the chairs differently so that everyone could see and hear the kids. It was much more organized for the veterans."
Both schools plan to continuing holding a Veterans Day celebration in the future, hopefully making traditions out of them.
"We hope to do it every year," Mundinger said. "We started it last year and had no idea how it would go or who would show up. Last year was a big success and this year was that much better. We want to make it an every year thing to show our respect to the veterans."
Wegner and Mundinger both said many of the veterans gave thanks after the celebrations were over Friday.
"As they would leave, almost every one of them would give you a heart-felt thanks," Mundinger said. "They truly do appreciate the opportunity to come into the school and be recognized and they deserve it."