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Salem students salute heroes

Elementary school holds Veterans Day celebration planned by teacher

Elementary school holds Veterans Day celebration planned by teacher

November 17, 2008|By JANET HEIM

It was a Veterans Day celebration filled with the pomp and circumstance of many others held throughout the county. This commemoration, though, featured the heartfelt sentiments of students at Salem Avenue Elementary School.

Music teacher Wendy Browne said it was her husband, who is a veteran, who suggested the idea to her. Browne, who said she comes from a military family, liked the idea and began planning.

"It's an important thing for us to honor these people who make such sacrifices for us. Many of our students have relatives who are veterans or are serving in the military, so they understand," Browne said.

It was the school's third-graders who sang songs representing each branch of military service and the original writings from fellow students that made the Salute to Heroes special. The Nov. 11 program, sponsored by the school's PTA, also honored those who work in emergency services.

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"What can you say to a hero? We can say 'Thank you. We owe so much to you. You are our heroes,'" began the lyrics of the first song sung by the students.

The evening program began with the presentation of the flags by the Hagerstown Fire Department Color Guard, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

Carol Hose of the Salem Avenue Elementary PTA narrated, providing background on each of the arms of military service - Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Air Force. Veterans in attendance were asked to stand when their branch's song was sung.

Five students read their own words of thanks, some sharing their own family's experiences with emergency services personnel, while a slide show of photos highlighting those in the service ran in the background.

"Dear Heroes, I would like to thank all public servants ... for being there for me, my family and friends when we needed your services," wrote Katrina Williams. She mentioned being hospitalized with a high fever when she was younger and how she recovered thanks to the care she received.

Student Joshuana Edmond wrote "We celebrate you this day. You are brave. Today we also encourage you to keep moving forward."

The program ended with the playing of the national anthem, then bugler Dennis Browne, Wendy Browne's husband, played taps in memory of fallen heroes.

Red, white and blue were featured prominently on the refreshment table, from the frosting on the flag cake to sprinkles on the star cookies.

"I think they did very well," Wendy Browne said of the students' performance.

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