South Routt Elementary School first-graders sing "Proud of Our Veterans" during an assembly Tuesday at the Yampa school.

Photo by Melinda Dudley

South Routt Elementary School first-graders sing "Proud of Our Veterans" during an assembly Tuesday at the Yampa school.

Assembly honors veterans

South Routt Elementary School celebrates national holiday

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South Routt Elementary School students saluted the nation's veterans with a special assembly Tuesday, the 88th celebration of Veterans Day.

The students used the event to show off their knowledge of the history and meaning behind the national holiday.

The first celebration of Veterans Day, then known as Armistice Day in commemoration of the end of World War I, took place on a hill overlooking the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., in 1921, fifth-grader AshLee Gingerich told the assembly's audience,.

"Nov. 11 is a day of historical significance to so many Americans," AshLee said.

A national holiday since the Eisenhower administration, honoring the nation's veterans is so important that Veterans Day has been strictly celebrated Nov. 11 for the past 30 years, AshLee continued.

The students, waving tiny American flags as they sat cross-legged on the gymnasium floor, wore mostly patriotic red, white and blue outfits - some pairing flag-print button-downs with cowboy boots, and others donning Spiderman T-shirts that fit the day's color scheme.

First- through fifth-graders put on Tuesday's assembly with help from members of Yampa's American Legion Bird-Howe Post 189, who posted and retired the colors that presided over the celebration.

The Veterans Day Assembly is a relatively new annual tradition for South Routt Elementary School, Principal Mike Young said.

"The kids are doing so great," physical education teacher Artie Weber said as students took the stage. "They've worked so hard on this."

Each grade took its turn on stage, the students singing for the rest of their schoolmates and the assembled parents who packed the standing-room-only gymnasium.

Kindergartners marched in place to "Yankee Doodle" while riding imaginary ponies. First-graders performed "This Land is Your Land," and second-graders gave a rousing rendition of "You're a Grand Old Flag."

South Routt Elementary School's fourth-graders took the words to the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution and set them to music. The third- and fifth-graders stuck with classics, performing "America the Beautiful" and "America," better known as "My Country, 'Tis of Thee."

All grades united for a Pledge of Allegiance rap, holding hand-colored United States maps and "Liberty"-adorned signs high above their heads. They sang a song thanking veterans and gave solemn salutes to the audience.

- To reach Melinda Dudley, call 871-4203

or e-mail mdudley@steamboatpilot.com

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