Grace's school sent home a note a couple of weeks ago, stating that they would like to honor any veteran parents who would like to attend a Veteran's Day event they were holding. Grace asked me to come to the event, and so I told her that I would.
Today was the day that they held an assembly. There were 3 rows of chairs at one end of the gymnasium, at which several parents were seated.
In California and Oregon, kids are let out of school for Veteran's Day. Here's how it goes in Idaho.
I sat in one of the empty chairs, and as Grace's class filed in, she came and sat with me.
The High School band came to Grace's Elementary School to play. A Cub Scout color guard marched in with the US and State flags and set them in their holders. The band played the National Anthem.
Next, Veterans of each military branch were asked to stand as the band played each service hymn. I hadn't heard "Anchors Aweigh" in decades. Afterwards, we were each in turn asked to stand up, state our name, branch of military, and dates of service. Then the band played a few more hymns.
Toward the end of the ceremony, a pastor gave a brief speech and asked for the children to raise their hands if they knew what happens during a war. He selected one girl, who said, "People shoot at each other and die." He said that was correct. Then he told the children that each one of us had sworn an oath to uphold the constitution, even to death. And that was the purpose of Veteran's Day.
After that, the entire school, and the high school band stood up and clapped for the handful of us vets seated at the end of the gymnasium. It was very, very humbling. And it was a lot different than having Grace out of school for one Monday in November.