Hundreds of elementary students said thank you to veterans and active military personnel during a Veterans Day ceremony Friday at West Park Elementary.

The school celebrated veterans with patriotic songs, hand-painted signs, the reading of a Veterans Day proclamation from the White House and a discussion of the importance of veterans.

“Many of you growing up right now do not know what it’s like to grow up in a non-wartime,” principal Shane Pratt told the students. “Boys and girls, war is for our freedom.”

All military veterans and active duty personnel were invited, and the guests who attended ranged from men and women serving at the Umatilla Chemical Depot to Bill Runion, a World War II veteran.

“If I could do it again, I would,” Runion told the assembly. “I’m proud of everything.”

At the end of the event, every class in the school walked past the line of veterans, shaking hands, giving high-fives and saying thank you.

The ceremony was also broadcast online and made available for friends and family members overseas and out of the area, including Hermiston Superintendent Fred Maiocco, who is deployed to Kuwait.


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