Students at Sunset Elementary School piled into the gym on Tuesday to learn more about Veterans Day.

“We’re excited to spend some time today learning about Veterans Day, and why we have that day off from school every November 11,” Principal Jerad Farley said to the students. “We have veterans here today in our audience.”

English language development teacher, Jenny Miller, led fourth-graders to the front of the gymnasium for a presentation of colors, where they displayed flags and stood in salute while Elizabeth Doherty, of Hermiston, played “The Star Spangled Banner” on trumpet.

Elizabeth’s mother, Melissa Doherty, who teaches at Rocky Heights Elementary School, gave a presentation about Veterans Day and her own experience serving in the military.

She told students about Sunset Elementary staff members who have or had friends and family in the military, and shared about her own journey, which started in elementary school, back when she dreamed of growing up to be a princess.

“And then in high school I wanted to be in corporate America,” she said. “To break the glass ceiling.”

She told the students that the cost of college was a barrier, but that the military paid for her university-based officer training, and she went on to eventually work many jobs in the U.S. Army, including combat medic, before coming to teach at Rocky Heights Elementary School.

She also explained how Veterans Day came to be over time, following World War I, and why the holiday uses poppies as a symbol.

“On the bloody battlefield (after WWI), poppies were the only thing still growing,” she said.

Several veterans were in attendance and were honored as the U.S. Armed Forces Medley played out in the gym.

“Our veterans don’t ask much,” Melissa Doherty said. “Just that we don’t forget. Talk to a veteran, and thank them for their service.”

Wednesday, Rocky Heights will hold similar assemblies for students.

Editor’s Note: Sunset Elementary School is November’s spotlight school for the Hermiston Herald. Look for mentions of the school in the paper throughout the month.

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