Eugene Field Elementary School students show thanks to veterans in song, demonstrations during Veterans Day Program

Eugene Field Elementary School students welcomed veterans to their school Friday to thank them for their service with a Veterans Day Program featuring songs and tributes.

Music teacher and program director Teresa Paszkiet said students from kindergarten through fifth grade practiced songs and presentations for about two months. The students showed their gratitude with patriotic songs, spoken passages and photos with the theme, “What do you stand for? I stand for —”.

Paszkiet said the students worked hard to prepare for the performances. The Eugene Field Pirate Pride Singers and fellow students sang songs like “Twinkle, Twinkle, Fifty Stars,” “Our States Are Great,” “Mighty United” and “Free Like Me”.

“They did a really good job,” she said. “I'm always really proud of them.”

Her husband, Steve, served in the Illinois National Guard from 1990-2002. The students' songs, quotes and sentiments about freedom left a strong impact on him. “It's all worth it,” he said.

Fourth grader MaKinley Bloodgood gave her grandfather a big hug after everyone sang

“God Bless the U.S.A.” Charles Bloodgood served in the Vietnam War for three years. He lost his older brother to the effects of Agent Orange in 1985, and he said the program evoked a mixture of feelings — memories of his brother brought tears, but the students' show of gratitude brought him joy.

“I loved it,” he said. MaKinley said the program was special to her, too.

“It's special for me to do this because it helps me recognize all the veterans.”