Second and third graders at Macclenny Elementary saluted veterans with a 45-minute program the morning of November 9 featuring patriotic songs and re-enactments of iconic moments in American history.
The event was a first for Dwayne Norman, one of many current and retired service men and women in the audience.
The medically retired Navy veteran’s daughter attends the north Macclenny school. “It was a great program,” said Mr. Norman. “It meant a lot to me and a lot of other people; more than words can say.”
Third graders packed the stage and flanked both sides, occasionally mounting a stage set up in front of the crowd to perform historic scenes like the Marines raising the American flag at the Battle of Iwo Jima.
Second graders, meanwhile, sat with the audience and helped sing along to tunes, including God Bless America by Lee Greenwood, the show’s finale.
“I always teach the second graders the music, because it makes the sound fill the room, but I cannot fit that many kids on the stage,” said Macclenny Elementary music teacher Kinita Bishop, who orchestrated the program. “It gives them something to look forward to next year.”
Also in the audience was Clay Green of Macclenny, who’s spent the last 19 years in the Air Force and visits the school each year for the veterans program.
He said this year’s show — with students acting out scenes that also included first responders on 9-11 and the Fallen Soldier combat memorial — was “the greatest one yet.”
“It was awesome,” he said while holding his 4-year-old daughter Carlie in his arms.
After he and other vets in the cafeteria were asked to stand in recognition, the students, led by Tiffany Thomas, not only sang the words to You Are Our Heroes, they signed them, too.
“The students practiced singing and memorizing music in music class only, which is 25 minutes every six school days,” explained Ms. Bishop, who tutors students in other subjects as well.