Meadow Glen Elementary School students raised their flags and their voices in patriotic fashion Friday as they paid tribute to the country’s military and other civil servants.
The Lexington 1 school is among several in the Midlands with Veterans Day celebrations on tap, honoring the services of active and retired military in the community as well as area law enforcement and emergency service workers.
“Our nation, our state, and our communities are safe because of you,” Meadow Glen principal Cherly Fralick told the nearly 70 guests of honor during the second of two morning assemblies. “We need to remember and be thankful.”
Friday’s ceremonies began with a Parade of Heroes during which Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts from the school led guests into the morning assembly to a cadence of drums. The procession was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance, performances from the school’s chorus, recognition of the special guests and a brief talk by Col. Mark Nordstrorm, a chaplain at Fort Jackson.
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Many of Friday’s special guests were accompanied by their children or other young family members.
Modycq Clark, a retired member of the Air Force who served 22 years, said he’s pleased that lessons of gratitude are being shared with students, including his granddaughter, Courtney Clark, a fifth-grader at the school.
“I think this day is important because we acknowledge so many things,” he said, including the many who have returned from war – some wounded – as well as those who remain missing in action.
“I hope they go away from here realizing that there is something bigger than they are.”
Courtney said she thinks her classmates have a greater appreciation for the sacrifices of the nation’s veterans and military.
“A lot of the kids are really respecting a lot of the people here,” she said. “A lot of the boys in my class have been saluting all day long.”
Courtney said the day was especially meaningful to her because of her grandfather’s services and because her brother, Alex Clark, had been selected to play TAPS during the morning gatherings.
Army Sgt. Shinikacq Lambert was on hand Friday to enjoy the ceremony with her children Zhiayla, Azharia and Izaiahall cq, all students at the school. She said it’s important that children “appreciate the sacrifices that people make for them to have a better life and a better chance for opportunities in the future.”
Patrick Jones of the Army National Guard celebrated the event with his wife, Kami,cq, their two oldest children, Leah and Barrett, and his parents.
Friday’s celebration is part of a month-long series of exercises the school has been holding as part of Service and Gratitude Month.
Fralick said teachers presented mini-lessons on the service of the nation’s veterans in recent weeks to help prepare students for Friday’s celebration.
During the morning assemblies, she encouraged the students to carry a U.S. flag with them Monday and wave it whenever they see someone in uniform to show their appreciation.
“We just always need to have that attitude of gratitude,” she said.