Elementary schools honor veterans

For fifth-grader Griffin Frensdorff, Veterans Day is more than just a day he doesn't have to go to school. It's the time he honors his grandfather, John Henningsen, who served in World War II.

"I think it's great we have a holiday where we can take part and celebrate those people who served our country," Griffin said.

With 'U.S.A' printed in bold letters on his T-shirt, the 10-year-old patriot joined his peers for a special assembly at Gardnerville Elementary School on Friday.

About 20 veterans filed into the school's gym, both men and women, young and old, who had served at different times in different theaters of war, but all applauded the same by the cheering students.

"It's a honor to come back and be here," said 23-year-old Matt Williams, who grew up in Carson Valley and attended Gardnerville Elementary School and graduated from Douglas High School in 2003 before joining the Army's 1st Infantry and serving two tours of duty in Iraq.

Gardnerville resident Ron Finch, 62, served in Vietnam with the U.S. Marine Corps.

"It's great seeing young faces," he said. "It gives me great hope for our country."

Fifth-grade teacher Robbi Jacobsen organized the event.

"It's imperative for our kids, even a small child, to have an understanding of what these men and women have done for all of us," she said. "From the first shots in Lexington to their continued job in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Students sang songs, recited poems and saluted the veterans.

"It's an honor having them here," said 11-year-old Layne Waggoner.

"They make this land free," said 12-year-old Emily Lawrence.

Sixth-grade teacher Dana Blane wrote a special poem for the event.

"For lest we forget what they have done is to forget out freedom's price. These veterans understood the call that only serving our county could suffice," Blane read. "Our veterans carry on our common dream that America has always stood for, that freedom is the greatest gift and defending it we can never ignore."

At the end of the assembly, students were asked to say two words to the veterans:

"Thank you," they shouted.

Scarselli Elementary also had a celebration on Friday, hosting about 30 veterans.

Students decorated their classroom doors with American flags to welcome the heroes. The Douglas High JROTC Color Guard presented the flags and led the Pledge of Allegiance. The Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School Band performed "The Star-Spangled Banner."

"History is important. We are losing a lot of our World War II veterans," said Principal Brandon Swain. "But we do have ongoing conflicts, with soldiers abroad and soldiers home on leave, and we need to recognize their contributions as well."


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