Saluting Nation’s Veterans

Hutchins Elementary third-graders (l-r) Sydney Garcia, Skylar Mobley, Keagan Hubenak and Bentley Trevino honored local veterans by singing the “National Anthem,” “God Bless America,” “America the Beautiful” and other patriotic ballads Friday morning in the school gym. Students wore red, white and blue with matching mittens in accordance with a school tradition that’s lasted more than 20 years. Veterans from various U.S. branches, the Coast Guard,  Air Force, Navy, Marines, Army and Army Reserves were honored at the event by student speakers from first, second and third grade who read poems as well as parents and community members. 

Fluttering red, white and blue mittened hands danced along to “Hats off to America,” among other patriotic songs, as the Hutchins Elementary third-graders honored veterans Friday, with the decades-long musical tradition.

“It means a lot to see them celebrate the people who have served,” U.S. Navy veteran Tim Ramczyk said.

Veterans from the Coast Guard, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Army and Army Reserves were recognized at the event. “I’m proud to represent a small slice of a very large pie,” Navy veteran Wayne Bustamante II said.

The performance began with the Pledge of Allegiance and the “National Anthem,” before first through third grade students read patriotic poems.

“It’s important to teach our students about respect and respecting our country and to respect the people fighting for our freedom,” Hutchins music teacher Toya Matthews said.

Northside Elementary will hold a combined Veteran’s Day performance with Myatt Elementary at 9:30 a.m. on Nov. 11 in the Northside cafeteria. For the first time, all 520 students will participate in the tribute.

“We want to give thanks or show them our gratitude,” Northside Music Teacher Brittany Rives said. “Thank you so much for fighting for us, and thank you for serving.”

The upcoming performance will include the “Armed Forces Medley,” which incorporates the official songs of branches of service into one piece, and “God Bless America,” where the students in deaf education classes will sign along.

“I always tell the kids, ‘there’s an 18-year-old veteran and we have some 92-year-olds coming, so everyone deserves our respect,’” Rives said.

Every year, they sing a few of the old favorites, but try to incorporate new songs as well, Rives said.

“I think it’s great,” Rives said. “Veterans are such an important part of our community. We have so many just in El Campo.” 

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