Over 250 veterans were honored at Mason Intermediate during a special Veteran's Day event on November 11. The ceremony included a packed parade through the hallways, touching musical performances and poetry readings. An off-the-cuff "thank you" speech from Marine James Hemelgarn was perhaps the most moving moment of the day.
"This is the most impressive thing I've been to," announced a choked up Mr. Hemelgarn to the packed house. "I'd like to speak for the other veterans. I'm sure they feel as I do - this [event] is outstanding and we deeply appreciate it. We salute you!"
The honored guests enjoyed breakfast in fifth grade classrooms, where students displayed timelines with pictures of veterans they know and created bulletin boards covered with artwork and poetry. A parade through the MI building followed breakfast. Fourth and sixth graders lined the hallways, cheering and waving American flags to thank the veterans. The parade ended in the gymnasium, where all fifth graders and many families were waiting to pay tribute to their guests of honor. Veterans from each branch of the military were recognized, and students presented a slideshow showing messages of appreciation.
The fifth and sixth grade chorus, under the direction of Jocelyn Moses, performed patriotic songs, and special recognition for each service branch.
MI fifth graders have been writing poems about veterans, and three were selected to be shared at the ceremony - including Sophie Sieveking who recited We Love you!, Avary Hutzelman who recited The Day We Say Good-Bye, and Mason Levin who recited Pure American Hero.
Mason Intermediate Principal Greg Sears shared that the annual Veteran's Day event is what he is most proud of about his school, students and staff. "You [veterans] sacrificed so much. Mason Intermediate educators understand our responsibility to educate today's students - our future leaders. And that's why you being here is so important and appreciated. It is vital that our future leaders deeply understand your sacrifice, and know that our freedoms come from the brave men and women who have been willing to give their all in service of our country."