Veterans with ties to Lincoln Elementary School in Elk River joined students and staff there on Monday for some cookies, coffee and much deserved recognition.
They began their morning visiting with family and once the first bell rang they headed out into the 20-some degree weather for a flag-raising by the Elk River American Legion Honor Guard.
Upon their return to their school’s gymnasium, they took one more chance to peer at the walls lining the outside the gymnasium, which were covered with fourth grade poems and fifth grade essays.
Inside the gym veteran kindergarten teacher Carole Boelter told of letters her father had written when he was in World War II.
She told of her grandmother having to wait for letters from all of her five boys not knowing if they were hurt or even alive.
She told of censored letters that came after months of waiting.
She told students, fellow staff and guests that her family was lucky and that her grandmother had all of her sons come home when the war ended. Three were injured but that they all came home.
Many families were not that lucky, Boelter said.
As for the letters from her father, Boelter cherished them. He died when she was only 21 and they helped her to know her father when he was a young man.
Three fifth grade students, Taylor Byars, Ben Grundman, and Katrina Jenniges read essays about patriotism and veterans. Everyone joined in singing patriotic songs between each speaker.
Taylor Byars essay told of honoring those that served, especially her grandfather who fought in the Vietnam War. He told her fighting for the freedom of others didn’t pay much, but it was an honor to serve in the army and help others.
Ben Grundman reminded those in attendance of the Revolutionary War and how important it was because it was the birth of the country. He told of being thankful for America’s freedoms, independence, and technological advances.
He ended with, “I’m so proud to honor the brave veterans that have served or are serving in American forces. That’s why I’m proud to live in America, land of the free, and the brave.”
Katrina Jenniges spoke of freedom and the many rights that we have, while in other parts of the world people are afraid to leave their homes, because they fear they might not make it back. She reminded people to show their loyalty by visiting local veterans hospitals and how important it was that veterans to know that we are thankful for all they have done for us.
When the students left the gymnasium, the veterans stood on both sides of the doors for students to greet and thank them for their service.
Smiles were on everyone’s faces.