Saturday, November 12, 2011

An Awesome Friday Spent With Heros!

Have you ever had the great pleasure of making plans, organizing, rehearsing, and hard work, then seeing it all come to fruition?  Every now and then it happens to me.  This past week
I was the right-hand-man (so to speak) to Diane (the facilitator of our school) as we planned the 
Veteran's Day assembly. 
Let me just tell you that it was one of the best assemblies that our school has ever had.
And by "best" I mean that it was meaningful, well-thought out, 
and memorable.
Not because of anything we did but because the reason we were having it in the first place...
to honor our veterans.

We had invited any families with veterans to come to school to be honored 
on November 11, 2011.
We had 17 in all!!
It was a beautiful sight.
The sweetest thing of all was when the children stood with their "veteran" and introduced him/her.
It had been my job to work with the students and then to prompt
them during the assembly.  What remarkable children they were.  So sweet and so proud
of their guest. I was getting choked up just in the practice.

Their little introductions went something like this:

My name is _____________.
I'd like to introduce you to my grandpa (dad, uncle, neighbor) _____________.
He/She served our country in the _______________.
And was a member of the ________________.

We had valiant men who served in Vietnam, Operation Iraqi Freedom (all years), The Korean War,
The Cuban Missile Crisis, and a woman who spent a year on (in??) a submarine
during the Iraqi conflict.  We had a representative from every branch of the Armed Forces.

But, perhaps the most amazing of all was a 93 year old veteran who served in WWII.
He was among the first to liberate the concentration camp at Dachu, Germany. I got to handle his authentic swastika flag he torn down from a German post office and touch his Purple Heart and Bronze Star. I could've listened to his stories all day -- one of the last of an amazing generation.

I felt a shiver down my spine as I touched that flag and then his purple heart. He told about his buddy dying on his lap--still knew his name--a soldier from New York. Then how the Russians just all of a sudden released him from the POW camp, helping the liberated prisoners at Dachu, amazing!

He spoke for about 10 minutes and showed us several artifacts.  
One of which was his actual helmet he wore. 
Lucky Leah, from my class, was chosen to come up and put it on.

 When he was finished speaking, he received a standing ovation.  There truly was not an adult dry eye in the place.  I also believe that the children also felt "something" in their hearts as they listened and watched all of the clapping going on around them.  It was just a very special and proud moment.

I'm so glad I was able to be a part of the entire program.  
Yes, this lowly Canadian is proud to be living in this great country.
Thanks for letting me stay.

 This little sweetie was born when her daddy was serving in Iraq, 2006-2007.
She actually told me that...including the years!
Smarty Pants!

We had two lovely musical numbers.

Even the babies were dressed in camo!  :)


Melissa Yergensen said...

It really was a truly amazing event! I was crying throughout the whole thing! Thanks so much for all your hard work, we are so lucky to have you!

Richard & Natalie said...

I wish I would've come. I have heard so many wonderful things about it. My kids can't wait for their cousin to come home so they can have him come one year.
And we are very happy to keep you! I don't think you could leave if you tried.

Rachel said...

Oh my heart! I wish I'd have been there. I wish I had been there to shake this man's hand and give him a hug and tell him thank you from my ancestors who lived and perished in that nightmare....... few who survived. I am proud to be Jewish! I am proud to be an American!

God bless these men and women who sacrifice for my freedom and my families.......

emlizalmo said...

I LOVED the assembly! I love it every year, but something about this one did a real number on me. I loved the Allen's grandfather so much. He was so proud. Actually, they all were. It was very, very moving. Thanks for all you did to make it happen.

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