GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - There was an overwhelming sense of gratitude in the Bel-Aire Elementary cafeteria Monday morning.
Classes of fourth graders, some with flags in hand, took the stage this Veterans Day to sing songs of patriotism, and express their appreciation for our country’s heroes.
“They do more than you expect they do. And you should be thankful for them because if we didn’t have them, our country wouldn’t be as good," said student Tatiana Acosta.
Acosta invited her grandfather to the performance. Louis McZorn served one tour in the Marine Corps, and then served the remainder of his military career in the Navy. He says as a veteran, he found it important to attend.
“It seems as that over the past they weren’t recognized, and now we are. So we might as well participate in what they do," said McZorn.
When teachers Jennifer Womack and Chantel Hawkins were planning the program, they not only wanted to honor veterans, but to also let it be lesson for their students.
“Hopefully they do understand that when they see someone who is in their military gear that they walk up and say thank you for serving because it is a huge sacrifice, and I don’t think many of them are aware, especially those maybe whose families don’t have someone who served in the military,” said Hawkins.
“I still feel like there’s definitely more that can be done for these kids to really understand the sacrifices of what has been made for us for the rights that we enjoy every day,” said Womack.
It’s a lesson Lauren Cunningham teaches her children every day.
“If they don’t learn at a younger age what our veterans have done for us and the sacrifices that they have, whether their lives, or a limb, or time away from their family, they won’t grow up to appreciate the sacrifices," said Cunningham.
Cable One also sponsored another program for 6th graders at the same time.