Northfield Elementary School held a special Veterans Day assembly on Friday morning.
The students invited friends and family members who served in the United States Armed Forces to the school for breakfast and for recognition at the assembly.
After a brief introduction by Principal John Wiedeman, the assembly was led by a veteran Northfield students know well – fifth-grade teacher Monty Zeiler, who served in the US Army Reserve for 21 years.
Zeiler asked all veterans in attendance to introduce themselves, share the role they served in the military, and tell the group which student or students they were attending with.
“It makes the kids feel like they’re part of it,” Zeiler explained. “And hopefully it will do the same for veterans. They are here for a reason, they are admired and the kids will talk about them all day long.
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Many students, led by music teacher Vanessa Woolsey, were able to honor the veterans by singing. The ninth graders led the school in the national anthem, the ninth graders sang their favorite song, “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” and the ninth graders closed the musical portion with “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee’.
Zeiler encouraged the students to show respect to all members of the community, as any of them could in fact be a veteran. He also told them how to recognize veterans when they saw them and asked them to thank these people for their service.
“It’s about letting kids know that we’re here because of these veterans,” Zeiler said. “We can practice freedom of religion, we can go to school and we don’t have to worry about little things because we have people who will protect us.”
The highlight of Friday’s assembly came when three young students received a special surprise. Apolonia, Liloianna, and Valencia Perez reunited with their big brothers, Kameron and Kaleb Taylor, who had just returned to town from basic Marine Corps training.
Zeiler said the three girls constantly talked about their brothers while they were away, and the oldest of the three was counting the days until she could see them again.
“Every day she writes about her brothers who are in elementary school and how they love writing them and love getting letters back. She had a countdown, and every day I read about it,” Zeiler said. .
“It was hard not to tear up,” Kaleb Taylor said. “For three months, we constantly worried about them. Protecting them and the people we love is the majority of our cause for joining the military.
The Taylor brothers will spend some time with their sisters before returning to their duties as soldiers in the US Marine Corps, a time neither of the siblings will take for granted.