Independence Elementary Celebrates Veterans Through Honor Flight

Posted on 03/21/2018
Independence Elementary Celebrates Veterans Through Honor Flight

Independence Elementary strives to help kids grow in many ways, including the development of a student’s character. They teach students the value of helping others and the value of honoring others for their sacrifices for the proverbial greater good. One way Independence is giving back this year is by supporting Honor Flight, which honors America’s veterans for their service. It’s an important lesson for the students at Independence Elementary – that the reason they have independence at all is because of the sacrifices made by these men and women.

“This was all from our kids,” Independence Principal Emily Pavia said. “We did some donating all the way up until the night of our veterans’ event.” The students and their families were able to raise enough money, over $650, to send a deserving veteran to visit their branch of the military’s monument in the nation’s capital.

The kids raised the money to show their appreciation for the sacrifices made for their independence, not because there was a pizza party in the end, or because they’d earn a chance to wear a hat on Friday. They did it because they thought it was the right thing to do. Teachers at Independence and around FHSD make a point to show students how our independence is connected to the bravery of our veterans. “It’s the respect aspect,” Pavia said. “I think it’s important for the kids to understand that some of the things we do within our community can really help others. Respecting our veterans and everything they’ve done to protect our freedom, I think it’s important for the kids to know that. And honestly just giving back is important – giving a soldier an opportunity to go to Washington, D.C., is amazing.”

Pavia said the school’s passion for this stems from “conversations teachers had with the kids about what is Honor Flight, and what that means. We’ve shown videos (of Honor Flight recipients) so the kids understand why it’s important. There was just a lot of passion from the school about why we need to do this.”

If valuing freedom isn’t enough to inspire someone to support Honor Flight, being at one of their homecomings for the soldiers will. Students who volunteered for Independence’s event for veterans were invited to be at Lambert for the emotional return. “Feedback from students and parents was that it was an incredibly powerful experience for their children,” Pavia said, “as well as themselves. They had never been a part of anything like that before. There were some tears from the kids and even some of the parents. The soldiers actually came over and talked to us, and they too had tears in their eyes as they walked through the sea of flags.”

But there were plenty of smiles with those tears. “It was so meaningful and worthwhile, and it was an experience that none of us – the kids or the adults – will forget. Special thank you to Pam Karides for inviting the Honor Flight folks to our school event.” 

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