ELYRIA — Students saluted more than two dozen veterans at a special assembly Friday at Windsor Elementary School in honor of Veterans Day.
More than 70 guests in all watched as students sang songs, presented the history of the five branches of the armed forces and handed out certificates of appreciation. The gymnasium at the school was decorated with signs saying “Welcome Veterans”; red, white and blue hearts; and American flags.
Members of the Elyria High School ROTC presented the colors, and the Elyria High School Madrigals sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Students learned that Veterans Day originally was called Armistice Day, after the
Nov. 11, 1918, armistice — a name for a truce or cease-fire — that ended World War I.
In 1954, Congress and President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a general during World War II, changed the name of the
Nov. 11 holiday to Veterans Day to honor all veterans, the students also learned.
Staff from Veterans Services at Lorain County Community College and Michael Walters, a veteran of the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division who has a son at Windsor and another in the Elyria High School ROTC, also spoke about their experiences with the students.
Walters talked about shaving his head for military service and using the GI Bill to pay for two college degrees. He talked about jumping out of planes with the Airborne and how veterans of all ages are brothers and sisters, no matter when or where they served.
It’s hard sometimes for veterans to return home after serving overseas, said Esperanza Correa, a U.S. Navy veteran who is now an academic adviser for veterans at Lorain County Community College.
But Windsor students are helping: Last year, Windsor students collected $832 in loose change that helped buy a freezer and other supplies for Valor Home in Lorain, a transitional housing program for homeless veterans. This year, they raised about $800 that will buy an icemaker and bed sheets for the veterans, it was announced.
Windsor’s was one of many such celebrations at Elyria schools throughout the day.
District spokeswoman Amy Higgins said Crestwood Elementary and Westwood Middle schools invited veterans to breakfast Friday, while McKinley and Prospect elementary schools hosted assemblies and Northwood Middle School students heard the story of the U.S. military bugle call, taps.
Sodexo food service provided free lunches Friday to all Elyria Schools staff who served in the armed forces, and will do so again Tuesday when school resumes, Higgins said.
Look for more coverage of Veterans Day events here, and in The Chronicle-Telegram Saturday, Sunday and Monday.