Ridgeview Elementary students express gratitude to Craig veterans
November 17, 2011
At a glance …
• About 15 Ridgeview Elementary School students got a visit from local veterans Wednesday afternoon.
• Veterans answered students’ questions about serving in the military and showed them how to fold the American flag.
• Students read aloud letters they wrote thanking veterans for their service.
When you're in the military, the food sometimes falls short of gourmet cooking, local veteran Jim Meineke told a group of Ridgeview Elementary School students Wednesday afternoon.
"Beans and weenies," he said of the cuisine during his service in the Korean War. "Lots of beans and weenies."
Meineke, a decorated veteran who served with U.S. Marine Corps, was one of four local veterans who spoke to a group of about 15 Ridgeview third- through fifth-graders at the school.
They answered students' questions about life in the service and taught them how to fold the American flag.
The students also had something to say to their visitors: thank you.
"Dear veterans," third-grader Tessona Gonzalez read from a letter she had written, "Thank you for serving for many of years and thank you for our freedom."
One by one, students read similar letters they had written, which conveyed their thanks and also were peppered with questions.
What was the worst food you ate in the military?
What kind of weapons did you use?
What were your commanding officers like? Were they nice?
"I was fortunate to serve under some absolutely superb commanding officers," Larry Neu, Vietnam War veteran and quartermaster for Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265, said.
Neu spoke highly on one of his superiors specifically.
"I would have followed the man to the end of the world, " he said.
The presentation followed on the heels of Veterans Day,
and recent lessons at the school that went along with it, Ridgeview paraprofessionals Kim Thompson and Sally Beauchamp said.
The students at the presentation were in several of the school's literacy intervention groups and "have been learning about veterans and the history of Veterans Day," Ridgeview literacy coordinator Shannon Samuelson said in an email.
Thompson said, "I think it's important for them to know what our history is, what a veteran is …"
"… and what they've done for our country," Beauchamp added.
Some students knew people who served in the military, Thompson said, but didn't realize they were veterans until recently.
Once teachers explained the term, though, "They all started going, 'Oh, I know a veteran,'" Beauchamp said. "They all started making that connection (of) what a veteran is."
Ridgeview fourth-grader Brian Stump knows about veterans first-hand. His cousin is one, he said.
During Wednesday's presentation, he learned that veterans are "fighting for our country, our peace and our freedom," Stump said.
He also took away another lesson.
"No matter where they are, they're still thinking of us," he said.
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