Steamboat Springs Just before 10 a.m. Thursday, Amy Larson's fifth-grade music class at Soda Creek Elementary School was buzz--ing with urgency.
There were only two more days of class -- and rehearsal -- before showtime.
"Go and stand in your assigned places, pretending those are the risers," Larson said to about 20 rambunctious students.
The children were practicing for a performance to honor local military veterans at 9 a.m. Tuesday. Veterans Day is Friday. Two other fifth-grade classes will perform, meaning about 60 kids will sing "The Star Spangled Banner" and "America My Home," tell the audience about the things they are grateful for and share posters and banners commemorating family members who have served in the military.
They also will perform a song called "Remember You" in sign language. Larson said her students learned how to sign in other classes. Their experience was evident Thursday morning.
As the music played from a radio, some of the students signed quickly, some extravagantly and some with hesitation. But all concentrated, closely watching the two student leaders who led the class through the motions.
"That was our best one yet," said leader Alex Barounos, 10, after the song finished.
Ten-year-old Logan Ban--ning, who also led the class, had a smiling jack-o-lantern dyed into the brown hair on the back of his head.
After the song, long banners of white paper with outlined words for the kids to color were rolled out, drawing excited cheers from the class and a scramble to claim the best spots.
Connor Mayo, 10, took a break from coloring to talk about his grandfather. Connor made a poster for the performance, with an American flag and black-and-white photos of B-52 bombers, the kind of plane his grandfather Casey Ciechanowski flew in the Korean War.
"They don't make those kinds of bombers anymore," Mayo said.
Also on the poster is a picture of Connor hugging Ciechanowski, who lives in Florida. Connor said his grandfather has talked to him a little about what it was like to fly a plane in the war.
"He said it was scary, but he felt good doing it," Connor said. "He said he's happy to be alive. He's had five heart attacks and lived through those, too. That sounds like a soldier to me."
The fifth-graders will perform a dress rehearsal for Soda Creek students Monday afternoon, gearing up for the performance Tuesday morning that is open to the public. Members of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter plan to attend Tuesday.