Hamilton K-8 students honor military veterans

This veteran and many others from the Anza Valley listen to the Hamilton Middle School Band play a medley of military branch hymns during the eighth annual Military Appreciation Day Wednesday, Nov. 9, at the school. Tony Ault photo

The student and teachers of Anza’s Hamilton K-8 School welcomed local veterans to their school with breakfast, a patriotic concert and personal poems to thank the veterans for their faithful service at the school’s annual Military Appreciation Day, Thursday, Nov. 9.

The veterans’ families and children joined them for breakfast in the teachers’ lounge; they were served pancakes and sausage.

Next, the veterans were escorted to the playground where the Hamilton Middle School Band played “America.” The students came out of their classrooms with their teachers and took seats on the ground in front of the vets. All stood as the Pledge of Allegiance was recited with vets saluting the flag.

The band played a “Procession of Heroes” as each of the veterans attending were announced with their branch of service.

The music made by elementary school classes and the flags the smiling youngsters waved brought tears to some of the veterans of World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and other veterans, reminding them of their fight to preserve the country for all children and the precious freedoms cherished in this nation. Many of the children now attending the school are the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the veterans who attended the celebration. During the singing, some of the veterans received red, white and blue scarves.

The kindergarten and first-grade students took the front, each with a flag in hand, to welcome the veterans and urge them to join in with the song “This Land is Your Land.” The kindergarten, first, second and third-grade students, gleefully waving their flags, sang “The Grand Old Flag.” The second and third-grade students stood to sing “Thank You Solders,” followed by the fifth-graders singing of the “Armed Forces Medley” with the veterans standing as each branch of service was honored. “The March of Patriots” concluded their concert.

The presentation of a gift and poster was given VFW Post 1873. The veterans from Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1873 in Anza made a strong showing. Post Commander Henry Sokal accepted a large poster which thanked the post and its veterans and was made by the Hamilton K-8 classes.

“It will hang in our lodge with the many others we have,” the commander said, as he also thanked the students for the Military Appreciation Day festivities held in their honor.

Concluding the ceremonies, Principal Carol Robilotta had all the children put their hands to their foreheads and salute the veterans, saying “Thank you for your service!”

“I love it,” Robilotta said. “This is one of the biggest turnouts of veterans we have had.”

The principal was instrumental in starting the school’s Military Appreciation Day, eight years ago.

“I am a big fan of the military,” she said. “So often public education is accused of not being patriotic and not saluting our flag. It’s not true.”

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