Cimarron Middle School students formed a corridor of waving American flags and smiling faces to welcome more than 100 veterans and active duty service members.
Words of gratitude permeated the air during the school’s third annual Veterans Day assembly Nov. 9. The students also decorated the hallway walls with 1,400 messages that expressed their appreciation for military service.
Veterans of various conflicts, from World War II to Desert Storm to Operation Enduring Freedom, attended the ceremony in front of the entire school. One dad stationed in Kuwait even attended the assembly via Skype on a family member’s iPad.
Ret. U.S. Air Force Maj. Joe Blahovec and Air Force master sergeant Barry Burkitt were among the honorees who received a hero’s welcome. Burkitt was among a handful of dads and moms whose children stuck by their side during the assembly. His daughter, Aly, a Cimarron sixth-grader, waved a flag and later hugged her dad before going to class.
Gary Samson, the dad of a sixth-grader and seventh-grader at Cimarron, stuck around to walk the halls and read the messages of thanks. Samson, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, said it is good to see children performing a civic duty and recognizing the sacrifices of those in the military.
The assembly has become a tradition at the school in Canterberry Crossing, and the number of veterans climbed from about three dozen the first year to more than 100 this year. Having just moved to Parker from Virginia, Samson was impressed by the show of military support at his kids’ new school.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said.