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South Valley Riverton Journal

North Star celebrates veterans with spirit and song

Dec 02, 2022 03:11PM ● By Camille Emmer

By Camille Emmer | [email protected]

Typically, when we see servicemen and women in uniform, they are on a military assignment; training, protecting or fighting. But on Nov. 11, at North Star Academy, they were there to honor veterans and participate in the Veterans Day assembly.

This assembly has become an annual tradition for more than ten years at North Star Academy, which teaches kindergarten through ninth grade. NSA celebrates Veterans Day to help their students learn the responsibilities of being a citizen, and to recognize the freedoms and privileges we enjoy because of the sacrifices of our military men and women.

Over 500 students from North Star Academy participated in the assembly wearing combinations of red, white and blue outfits, showcasing months of work and preparation.  Students waved to their parents as they entered the auditorium with smiles, excitement and enthusiasm.  Kindergarten through sixth grade sang patriotic songs ranging from “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” and “Yankee Doodle” to “Fifty Nifty United States” and “America the Beautiful.”

The assembly began with a welcome from Bluffdale Mayor Natalie Hall and the national anthem. Angela Peterson, event organizer and music director said, “I want [the students] to understand how important our military is, and especially our veterans. They don’t always get the recognition they deserve. This is a wonderful assembly to give back to our veterans and miliary servicemen and women.” She also commented on how helpful and encouraging the community is. “I do it because it is a great way to give back to the community.”

Veterans from nearly every branch of the military were in the audience, including Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy.  One of the Navy veterans in attendance, Larry Gibson, who served in Vietnam and was mobilized several times said, “it is amazing that I am still here. There were many times I could have died.” 

Another attendee who was an active-duty serviceman for more than eight years and in the reserves for another 13 years said, “Veterans Day reminds people what America is all about. It helps hold our country together.”

North Star Academy also recognizes the sacrifices of the families of those who serve in the military. Cindy Woodruff attended the program and currently has students that attend North Star Academy. Her husband’s work in the Army has taken them all over the world. They have moved 11 times in 14 years. She echoed the sentiments of the veterans by saying, “Veterans Day unifies Americans; we can all appreciate the sacrifice of veterans.”

            One poignant segment of the program was a video presentation of the North Star Academy alumni serving in the military. One alumnus, an Air Force software programmer, encouraged each student to “take advantage of this amazing country and never let an opportunity pass you up. There are people around the world that don’t have the same opportunities that we do.”  

Another alumnus who was highlighted attended NSA from K- 9 grade. He recently finished serving in the United States Army 25th Infantry Division Schofield Barracks Army Base. He said, “I wanted to serve our country because we have a lot of freedoms to protect, and you can help protect our freedoms by voting when you are 18 and learning about our constitution. I’m grateful for the opportunity that I had to serve and those who have served before me.”

            The assembly concluded with a visitor from the office of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He said that each day 22 veterans die from suicide in the U.S. He reminded each in attendance that they are important and they matter. The VA has support for veterans in need of mental health services and education opportunities. They encourage veterans to reach out for any support and help they need.

North Star Academy collaborates with Texas Roadhouse on Veterans Day to celebrate and honor veterans. Texas Roadhouse gives a free meal to veterans in appreciation of their service. North Star Academy students write notes of thanks and gratitude that are given to the veterans when they arrive at Texas Roadhouse.