The gymnasium at John F Kennedy Elementary School was filled with heartfelt messages of gratitude and patriotic song during a recent Veterans Day assembly.
Dozens of parents and relatives watched the hour-long presentation, which hundreds of students attended. About 30 of them came up to the microphone to tell the audience about a family member—from Aunt Laurie and great Uncle Lenny to mothers, fathers and grandparents—who served in the military.
Some are deceased and some are alive. A few stepped out from the crowd and joined their youngsters at the microphone as he or she told peers about the person's service.
"It's great to know that there are still school systems that honor veterans," Stormville resident Ron Knapp said after hearing his granddaughter, second-grader Tori Hegenauer, speak. Knapp served in the U.S. Navy.
His wife, Karen Knapp, agreed. They both found the event to be moving.
"I really appreciated the last song," she said, referring to a patriotic tune that wrapped up the assembly [click the video above to hear part of it].
Southeast resident Tom Acerno, whose service career spans more than 30 years, accompanied his grandson, kindergartener Caedan Gonzales, to the microphone. Beforehand, he did not realize he would be called up in front of the crowd.
When asked if he became emotional during the experience, he replied, "A little."
"I always do this time of year," Acerno said.