With handmade signs, emotional songs and performances, Holy Family School students and faculty showed their gratitude for veterans Tuesday, Nov. 8.

With handmade signs, emotional songs and performances, Holy Family School students and faculty showed their gratitude for veterans Tuesday, Nov. 8.

The Veterans Day Prayer service has grown each year, honoring everyone who fought for our freedom. With every song and salute, the students showed their appreciation to an audience filled with veterans. Numerous students, staff and faculty members honored their loved ones with a slideshow tribute filled with twice as many veterans as the presentation from 2015, said Principal Sister Betty Uchytil, School Sisters of Notre Dame.

“We have this incredible freedom in the United States because of you,” she told the veterans who filled the church.

Middle School math and science teacher Melissa Flaspohler organized and wrote the program, assisted by several fellow teachers and the entire student body.

“We just wanted to recognize our veterans for all the sacrifices they made so we can live in a free country, and our students really enjoyed paying tribute to them,” she said. Sixth grade student Alina Hays echoed that sentiment.

“I love our veterans, and they’ve served for us,” Hays said.

Seventh grader Cailee Combs said the service resonated with her on a personal level.

“It was an honor because I had a lot of family members in the military,” she said. “It was like I was giving back to them.” Fellow seventh grade student Rachel Phillips also wanted to recognize her father and her grandfather, who signed up to serve in the Korean War.

“I really wanted to appreciate him,” Phillips said. “I liked helping out with everything.”

Eighth grade student Kenlie Stroud said, “It’s honoring the veterans who keep us safe. It was a good opportunity.” The veterans in attendance were grateful for the outpouring of thanks and all that the children learned along the way.

“As a veteran, it was very, very moving, very touching,” Dick Rupp said. Steve Smith said this was his second time attending the program, which “gets better and better” each time.

“I can’t thank them enough,” Smith said. “It’s a great thing.” Jim Harris felt an emotional tug, too.

“They did a great job,” he said. “It brings some tears to your eyes.”