COSMOS -- Kindergarteners holding handmade popsicle stick flags Thursday led a group of parents, teachers, students and a dozen military veterans in the Pledge of Allegiance during the annual Veterans Day program at ACGC South Elementary in Cosmos.
As veterans from the Korean and Vietnam Wars and an active military member from Operation Enduring Freedom sat in chairs of honor in the small gym, the kindergarten through fourth-grade students recited poems, performed a play called "What is a Veteran?" conducted a "Veterans Day from A to Z" slide show and then sang their hearts out in a song called "I love my country."
The program was an opportunity for the students to honor the military men and women who "bravely answered the call to defend our freedom," said Sherri Broderius, superintendent of the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City School District and principal at the Cosmos school. "We can never fully repay our debt of gratitude to you," she said, as the audience gave the veterans a standing ovation.
There's been a long tradition of doing a Veterans Day program at the Cosmos elementary school.
"It's a great tradition," Broderius said.
In the past, the program has occasionally been performed by the veterans for the students.
This year the students provided the program.
The veterans were appreciative that the students "did something for us," said Ron Mortenson, a Vietnam veteran from Cosmos.
Liz Wheeler, a first-grade teacher at ACGC South, said the program "meant a lot to the kids."
As mother of a son who's an active member of the military, Wheeler said the program also "meant a lot to me."