Nov. 10, 2015
Hadley Middle School students, teachers and staff paid tribute to veterans on Tuesday with a special assembly in the school gymnasium.
In attendance were more than a dozen veterans representing each branch of the military.
“For more than 200 years, brave men and women have worn the uniform of the U.S. military in order to defend our freedom,” Principal Kristen Schroeder told students as they welcomed the servicemen and women with a standing ovation.
“These heroes have answered our nation’s call and served with honor a dignity,” she continued. “In return for their service, they deserve our respect, our gratitude and our profound appreciation for their dedication and sacrifice. We can never fully repay the debt of appreciation owed to our veterans, but we can continue to recognize and honor their service.”
Students placed their hands over their hearts as the veterans presented the Colors and the school choir sang the National Anthem.
Next, the sixth-grade chorus introduced each branch of the military by singing the Armed Forces Medley, followed by a selection of patriotic tunes, including “Over There.”
“There is nothing we can say or do for a veteran that can begin to repay them for their sacrifices,” said Schroeder. “Although our soldiers deserve it, they never expect to receive any gratitude.
“They are heroes even more brave than those in movies or comic books,” she continued. “They walk our streets without capes or super powers. They are the heroes with the strength and courage to change our world. Without reservation, they protect us. They are the foundation that makes our country great.”
Veteran David Kemp from the American Legion Post 111 in Orland Park was invited to the podium to read the touching poem “I Am a Veteran” by Andrea Brett.
Students then presented Trisha Ruzzini, a volunteer with Operation Care Package, with two cartloads of items they collected for troops stationed overseas, including socks, razors, protein bars and Slim Jims.
“The kids are really driving this,” said Hadley social worker Mary Beth Rebollar who helped organize the collection effort and assembly.
Boxes were placed around school in the weeks leading up to Veteran’s Day, encouraging students to donate an item or two.
“Oh my goodness. You didn’t tell me I’d have to bring a U-Haul,” Ruzzini told students as their donations were wheeled out during the Veteran’s Day assembly.