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Veterans Day at Pine Island Elementary

Students, staff recognize record number of veteran guests

November 13, 2019
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

Under sunny skies and with cool breezes blowing, Pine Island Elementary celebrated Veterans Day with a record number of veterans more than 100!.

There were veterans from every branch of the military services: Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard, and from every war between World War II and the current operation in Afghanistan.

Principal Steve Hook welcomed 200-plus family and friends and, "most of all," veterans to the annual event.

Article Photos

The students at Pine Island Elementary at the start of the Veterans Day program.


"We are humbled and honored to pay tribute today," Hook said. "If you are a World War II veteran, you are in a special class. Please raise your hand."

Half a dozen or so World War II veterans raised their hands and received applause from the audience.

According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, there were fewer than 500,000 sill alive in 2018. The country currently loses about 348 per day.

Weeks before the school year started, staff began inviting veterans to the event. On Friday, as veterans began arriving, they were escorted by student ambassadors to the media center where coffee was served. Just before the program started, the veterans were once again escorted by student ambassadors to the pavilion.

Serving as the student ambassadors were Anna Borgerding, Addison Denty, Coleman Darna, Kayden Hallmon, Luke Harre, Mark Smith, Leahnet Valdez and Aubrey Winters.

"Students begin working on the event more than a month in advance to make sure they are honoring the veterans in the best possible way," music and art teacher Mrs. Van Duser said.

"Amazing, touching, moving, a true tribute!"

These are just some of the words that were used to describe the Friday's Veterans Day Program put on by the students and staff at Pine Island Elementary.

"Once again we were honored to host over 100 veterans at our annual Veteran's Day celebration," Hook said. "It is very moving to hear our students sing and speak to honor our veterans. Our students know in their head and heart of the sacrifices these veterans have made. We thank Mrs. Renz and our staff for this great program and thank Cape Coral Outback for sponsoring a delightful meal."

Special thank you read by Aiden Renz

Dear Veterans,

On behalf of myself and the students and staff of Pine Island Elementary, I want to thank you for all you have done, and for all that you do. You are the ones that make our flag fly. You made our country free. Thank you so much for the sacrifice you made for our country and for taking time from your life to help us. I feel very thankful. Thank you for your service. It's days like today that remind me of the stories my parents have told me about my uncles that have served in the military, such as my godfather, my Uncle Jeff Nelson who served in the Navy. I'm also reminded of my great grandfathers, William Bateman who was a Pearl Harbor survivor and Jim Renz who served in Germany during World War II.

I think of the time men and women could have been spending with their family, however, they decided to help make our country free and happy. I love being free. I am very lucky, and so is the rest of America. And it's because of all of you, and everyone else who helped make our country what we are today. Thank you so much.



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