This is the 8th or 9th year I have organized the Veterans Day program at one of our elementary schools. I used to be a 5th grade teacher in the building, but I left that position five years ago.
I have continued to do it because it is a labor of love (you can read why here).
But this year something was different. I had a few plans in place, but then I went to a conference for five days, and when I got to school this morning, I was feeling a bit rushed and definitely stressed. It didn’t help that it was snowing which meant that, for the first time, we would have to move the assembly inside.
I worked to finish up the video (pictures of veterans who belong to our school family and the third graders singing the National Anthem as background music), and I scooted across town to figure out the new set up, nab the 4th graders with speaking parts, and hoped to pull it all together before 11:00. I found myself saying to both the secretary and principal that maybe it was time someone else who was in the building full-time took it on.
But then the gentlemen from the American Legion Post arrived, and it was like visiting with old friends. I got lots of handshakes and a couple of hugs. They tell me every year what a nice program we do and how much they appreciate it.
I watched 300 or so 4K-4th grade students say the Pledge of Allegiance, sing the National Anthem, and listen quietly to what was shared.
I watched a group of veterans stand proudly in their uniforms, and I listened to an old man muster the breath to play Taps beautifully.
And I realized that I will, indeed, do this again next year. Some things are too important to let go.