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Hayden Peak Elementary Students Honor Veterans

Dec 08, 2015 12:48PM ● Published by Rachel Hall

By Rachel Hall

West Jordan - American flags lined the sidewalk leading to the front entrance of Hayden Peak Elementary, where students held the doors open for distinguished guests and visitors attending the annual Veterans Day program held in honor of all former and current military members who have served to protect the United States of America.

“We sent out a general invitation to any veterans,” assistant principal Amy Adams said.

Scott Freimuth was one of the many veterans who arrived to listen to the program, which consisted of patriotic music and sincere thank-you letters written by students in each grade from kindergarten through sixth.

“The students did all of the writing on their own,” Adams said.

Freimuth, who joined the United States Army right out of high school, has been attending the Veterans Day program since his older son, now 15, was in elementary school. He still feels honored to hear the feedback and appreciation given at such an event.

“I think it’s awesome that students here [and] people around the world can recognize the service that we provide,” he said.

It was in 1991, after Freimuth returned from a tour in Operation Desert Storm, that he received a memorable reception at the airport as a thank you for his service.

“We got leave right after they sent us home so that we could spend time with parents or family or wives or whatever, and my whole family was at the gate to meet me. I was hugging my mom and my dad and I remember people walking by. They were like, ‘I don’t even know you but I want to give you a hug,’ and they were hugging us. That is awesome that our country recognizes our service that the men and women provide,” he said.

Alexa, the 11-year-old emcee of the program and vice-president of the student council, is proud to have two grandfathers that served in the military.

“I am very grateful to them, because one of my grandpas who is still alive – he’s a great person. He’s very respectful. He has a great sense of humor and he’s a very loving kind of person. I feel like being a veteran kinda helped him build that character,” she said.

The school choir, Harmony, composed of students in second through sixth grades, helped open the program by singing “The Star Spangled Banner.” Fifth-grade students also performed a medley of military anthems in honor of each branch of service.

“The music always makes me cry,” Adams said.

Students stood to speak in front of the school-wide audience and veterans with a microphone in hand, each expressing their gratitude in an honest and sincere way.

“These heroes have put their lives on the line so that we might live in a world that is safer, free and more just. This day and every day we pay tribute to America’s sons and daughters. As a grateful nation, let’s show our appreciation by honoring all of our veterans,” Maggie said.

Zoe, another student, thanked veterans for their hard work and efforts to keep the country safe.

“We miss you when you are gone and are glad when you come home,” she said.

Harmony performed “God Bless the USA,” and additional speakers read their letters before a moment of silence was held. Flowers were handed out to the veterans and the colors retired as the ceremony came to an end.  

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