STANTON — Central Montcalm Public School celebrated Americans who fought and gave their lives to their country Friday, while also teaching students about their ancestry.
The 34th annual We Love America Parade event was celebrated at Central Montcalm High School with elementary and middle school students honoring those who have served in the military.
“(The event) is important to honor our veterans and to teach our kids why we are as free as we are,” said Superintendent Kristi Teall. “We want to teach our kids to be proud of their ancestry.”
The parade started 34 years ago when students would march from the elementary school to the courthouse steps and hold a ceremony. Over the years, it developed into an event where all elementary and middle school students participated and for people from the community to come and observe Memorial Day with the students.
On Friday, hundreds of community members packed the gym to watch as the students lead the show. They sang “God Bless the USA,” “Thank You, Soldiers,” “Freedom, O Freedom,” “This is Still the Land of the Free” and “This Flag We Fly.”
The students honored each military branch by having veterans, and those who are currently serving, stand while they sang that branch’s song. Students sang “The Army Goes Rolling Along” for the Army, “Anchors Aweigh” for the Navy, “Sempre Paratus” for the Coast Guard, “The Marine’s Hymn” for the Marines and “Wild Blue Yonder” for the Air Force.
Four fifth grade students read essays on what the American flag meant to them. In her essay, Kyah Fisher said the American flag not only represents the history of the country, but the future of it as well.
Trevor Jones agreed, saying the three main reasons he and his family fly the flag are to remember those who have served, for the Pledge of Allegiance and to remember their ancestry.
Kati Naert quoted President George Washington in what makes up the American flag.
“We take the stars from heaven, the red from our mother country, separating it by whites stripes, thus showing that we have separated from her, and the white stripes shall go down to posterity representing liberty,” Naert read.
She went on to say the flag is a to remind everyone of those who have served.
“Without them, we wouldn’t be free,” she said.
Cami Peterman encouraged the audience by explaining what the flag meant to her.
“We won’t take our flag down,” she said. “It represents our freedom. We love the U.S.A.”
The ceremony ended with a moment of silence to remember those who have lost their lives fighting for freedom, the children and teachers of Sandy Hook Elementary School, Plaza Towers Elementary School and others who have lost their lives this year.
“Central Montcalm remembers,” Teall said.