COLUMBIA — Rows of children filled the stands in the New Haven Elementary School gymnasium Friday morning, their voices echoing through the room as they sang patriotic tunes to parents and veterans. Clutching pieces of red, white or blue paper, they arranged themselves to form an American flag for the crowd.
New Haven has been hosting a Veterans Day assembly for about 20 years. Parents and local veterans attend, as well as residents of Lenoir Woods Senior Living, the school's Partner in Education.
"A lot of the time we ask a lot of our P.I.E," Principal Carole Garth said. "It's nice when we can give back and honor them and their veterans."
Garth started the assembly by recognizing the veterans in attendance. She requested that the veterans stand or raise a hand as she called out their era, starting with World War II and ending with current active duty service members.
Applause filled the gym in response to each era's recognition.
"It's kind of overwhelming," said Navy veteran Leroy Adams, after the event.
The students also sang a medley of patriotic tunes after Miss Missouri Shelby Ringdahl performed a rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner."
"The music teacher has been working with the children for about a month," Garth said. "The teachers play the music in their classroom for the children."
The event concluded with Show-Me State Games and CenturyLink presenting the school with a $500 scholarship for having top participation in the inaugural Pumpkin Run, a 5K it held to encourage healthful living.
After the assembly ended, a group of veterans in wheelchairs moved to sit in front of the students' bleachers. As the students filed out of the stands, they paused to shake the veterans' hands before going back to class.
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