TROY — A proud tradition was carried on at Van Cleve Elementary School on Monday, when students and staff welcomed veterans of all ages for their annual Veterans’ Breakfast and Honor Program.
Breakfast was served at 8 a.m., followed by a ceremony conducted at 9 a.m.
Matt Siefring, principal of Van Cleve, is proud to continue the event each year.
“This program actually predates Van Cleve as a sixth-grade building,” Siefring said. “It was started by staff at other elementary schools. It was brought here 11 years ago, and it’s been going on ever since. It’s the one event throughout the year that’s not only significant for us to honor our veterans and show our gratitude, but is also a teachable moment for our students.”
During the breakfast, Van Cleve’s sixth-grade band students performed various patriotic songs onstage for the attendants, such as “When the Saints Go Marching In” and “America the Beautiful.”
Following breakfast, an MIA/POW ceremony was carried out by Siefring and members of student council. “Each item on the table symbolizes remembrance of prisoners of war or those who didn’t come home,” Siefring elaborated. “It’s just a special way of acknowledging those who can’t be here today.”
Zoey Geuder, of the Troy High School band, performed “Taps,” which was proceeded by a moment of silence.
A select choir of Van Cleve students performed “The Star-Spangled Banner,” followed by a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Later, they also performed “Land That We Love,” “To Those Who Serve,” and “America.”
“Each veteran who is in attendance today is going to be given a certificate and a pin,” said Siefring. “It’s just a little token of thanks. Some of those who are a bit more seasoned and have been with us in the past wear hats and jackets with pins from other years. Hopefully, it can stand as a reminder for them of the memory they could share here with their family and friends.”
The annual event at Van Cleve is made possible by several sponsors throughout the community, who donate food and resources every year in order to make it happen. Sponsors include Miami County Veterans’ Services, Lincoln Square Restaurant, Baird Funeral Home, Koverman Staley Dickerson Insurance, Tim Hortons, and various individual volunteers.
“It’s truly a community event,” said Siefring, “And we’re fortunate and pleased that we have all the support that we do to make it happen.”
Reach Cody Willoughby at firstname.lastname@example.org.