Peabody-Burns students celebrate vets

Students and faculty at Peabody-Burns Elementary School celebrated Veterans Day by inviting area veterans to an event in their honor.

Speaking to more than 50 guests, PBES organizers said it was a privilege to bring the program back after an absence of a few years.

Ron Traxson, superintendent and principal, said getting the program ready was a lengthy process but well worth the effort.

“We wanted to involve all the elementary students in K-5, and give them an opportunity to meet local veterans,” he said.

Kathy Preheim, administrative assistant and one of the event coordinators, said the program was one way to give back to veterans.

“The service members we honor today have qualities we try to instill in our students—courage, pride, determination, selflessness, dedication to duty and integrity,” she said.

Addressing the veterans and others, Preheim said many of the veterans didn’t ask to leave their homes to fight.

“Some didn’t volunteer,” she said. “They didn’t go to war because they loved fighting. They were called to be part of something bigger than themselves. Veterans are ordinary people who responded in extraordinary ways.”

Preheim said these men and women responded to the nation’s call because they wanted to protect a nation that had given everyone so much.

Paula Harris, who works at PBES, was wearing a chain with pictures of veterans in her family.

“This is a picture of my grandfather who was in World War II,” she said. “My Uncle George Martinez was killed in Vietnam. This is my Uncle Junior Carlos, brother David Martinez and my cousin Eric and nephew Aaron, who died in a car accident,” she said.

Catrina Zielinski said she has a son, Leroy, in kindergarten. Wearing a Marine uniform, she said veterans of military service members can wear their dress uniforms anytime.

In addition to music and others presentations, the fifth-grade students served refreshments to veterans, Preheim said. Rubbing a gravestone was also part of the day’s activities.

“(Today’s tribute) is not a lot, but it’s one small way we can honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can live in freedom,” she said.

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