CLEARFIELD – Students and teachers gave a warm welcome to 27 veterans Friday as part of the Clearfield Elementary School’s second annual Veterans Day event. The veterans came from the different armed forces and six members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Color Guard attended.
Principal Anne Herzing opened up the event talking about the importance of veterans. Telling the crowd of kindergarten though fifth graders about how veterans sacrificed being able to go shopping and to amusement parks to live lives that in comparison might seem “dull and boring” to the students in service to the country.
“These service men and women went to places we can only read about,” said Herzing opening up the event.
Faculty, staff and students took shifts between segments shared a patriotic theme throughout. A projector flashed the lyrics to classic songs such as “My Country Tis of Thee” and “This Land is Your Land” as attendees sang along. After the main event and most of the students returned to class kindergartens remained to put on a song and show for the gathered veterans.
The students were filled with excitement throughout the presentation. Some ran up from the bleachers to greet their veteran relatives. The singing of the children drowned out that of the adults present. Herzing had to reminds the collective mass of children to hold their applause for veterans till the end of the show.
Many of the veterans present were related to either students or members of the faculty and staff. One chair was empty in memory of Paul Shapanus, a father of Cindy Coder, a teacher at Clearfield Elementary School.
Shapanus had attended the program last year, but passed away two months ago.
“It was nice,” said Todd Orsica of Clearfield after the show. “Kids now a days don’t respect the veterans like they should.”
His comment mirrored a reading by Leslie London of the color guard. The reading, from Old Glory’s perspective, was the lament of the decline of patriotism and asked the listeners to give up the rote motions for real patriotism. It asked if patriotism was a sin and stated to the listeners that a salute to the flag is a salute to all those who died for it.
Which was one reason Clearfield Elementary hosted the event.
“The students get to see for themselves who the veterans are and show pride in their country,” said Herzing.
“I really felt it was a great presentation. It is good to know the kids still stick up for the country, under god, one nation,” said Gerry Bailey, an Army veteran, as her eyes began to water.