MASSENA - Children at Jefferson Elementary School were given a lesson in the importance of Memorial Day and the service of veterans at the end of the school day Friday.
Students gathered in the gymnasium where they all took part in singing America the Beautiful and other patriotic tunes, while huddled in a large circle around an American flag. Music was provided by fifth-grader Cooper Paquin on trumpet and music teacher Nora Darling on the piano.
Students of Jefferson Kids Care - an extracurricular group that sews quilts for hospital patients and residents who recently lost loved ones - presented a red, white and blue quilt to veteran Sam Cappione, who served as a first sergeant in World War II.
Before being led from the gym, students greeted, shook hands with and thanked Mr. Cappione. Many also set flowers theyd been holding in a circle around the base of the flag.
I think its important we do this every year as a way to show students this is more than a Monday off - that they see it as a time we honor our veterans, Principal Duane Richards said.
The lesson seemed to have stuck. Many students offered simple words of thanks and appreciation for Americas servicemen and women.
Many of the troops served in war to fight for our safety and freedom, said fifth-grader Hunter Pryce.
They did a very important act, and its very patriotic. (The ceremony) was nice and everyone was respectful, fifth-grader Emma Kormanyos said.
Third-grader Holden Hewlett found the ceremony to be a bittersweet reminder of all that Americas veterans have done for our country.
It was full of sorrow and good for honoring veterans. Veterans have served in many wars, and I will always honor them, Holden said. Theyve helped us stay a free country.