We Honor Our Veterans

by Michael Porter
In honor of our Veterans, the 3rd-graders presented their annual patriotic musical program on Tuesday, November 8. It was a colorful and exciting presentation!
"I felt that I was going to explode, I was so excited," said 3rd-grader Ariel K. "I was breathing hard, palms sweaty, legs shaking, hair fidgeting."
Ariel had no need for concern. Her singing and dancing were just fine. 
"Third-grade students have been studying patriotic music as part of a cross-curricular unit with global studies," said Music Specialist Jessica Barker. "In their homerooms, students learned the symbols of America and took a field trip to Naval Air Station Jax."
In music class, the students learned the songs from the show and took a brief look at the life of American composer, John Philip Sousa, whose marches have become a ubiquitous part of our culture.

Students also learned about the Remembrance Table, which is ceremoniously set to honor soldiers who are MIA or POW.
"It's a small table with a long white cloth over it," said Beth B. "It has a lemon slice and salt on a white, plain glass plate. It also had a glass cup turned over and a vase with a red rose and ribbon."
This year's show included speaking parts, singing solos, and two new dances created by Dance Instructor Hannah Tucker.
For the opening flag processional, we were honored that Isabelle F's father, Lou, accompanied her in carrying the American flag down the aisle.
The show has evolved throughout the years to include the spotlight on the Remembrance Table, a flag routine set to a Sousa march, and a tribute to America using American Sign Language. There is even a Pledge of Allegiance rap song that our student musicians loved performing! 

"I liked the Veteran's Day Show a lot because of all the flags and the songs," said 3rd grader Idrees. "I also like the signs and pom poms!"
Charlotte N. added, "I loved ALL the songs but my favorite one was Thankful for the USA."
By far the favorite addition this year was the super secret surprise at the end. During the show, a handful of students hid streamers in their pockets and waited until the perfect moment to adorn the stage with colorful bursts of blue. 

Without a doubt, this show makes an impact on all of our students, but to those who have family ties to the armed forces, it is even more meaningful.
"My Poppy was a Veteran and it means that I might want to serve in the military, too," said Jackson E.
Owen S. shared he liked the Marines because: "My grandpa was in the Marines and it was the flag I was holding."
Why are Veterans so important that we have a national holiday to recognize their service?
"Because they protect our nation and some get hurt. They fight for our country," said Riley O.
"It feels good to honor them!" said Vasili T.
Ms. Barker is very proud of the confidence the young performers displayed on stage.
"In rehearsals, we always reiterate that practice makes progress and mistakes are okay!" Ms. Barker said. "With this knowledge in hand, the students were well-spoken, confident, and relaxed on performance day. Way to go, students!"