Waving flags and giving thanks, Lutz students joined together to sing the praises of U.S. veterans.
The Friday morning assembly at Maniscalco Elementary was a musical tribute to the members of the armed forces. After reciting the pledge of allegiance, Pre-K and kindergarten students opened the tribute with Yankee Doodle Dandy and This Land is Your Land. Students waved miniature flags and sang along as each grade level performed their own patriotic songs.
The students also had a special guest: Air Force veteran Mary Kelly Anderson.
"Joining the military had been a dream of mine since I was a little girl," Anderson told the students, who ranged from pre-kindergarten to fifth grade, and the parents in attendance.
Putting on the Air Force uniform for the first time was a poignant moment for her, she said. She stood straighter, listened more closely and felt immense pride in both herself and the nation, Anderson said.
Anderson also shared a bit of her experiences during and after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"Freedom doesn't come free," she said.
Anderson asked students, teachers and parents to keep veterans and their families in their thoughts.
Remember to take the opportunity to say thank you to them, she said. "It is not necessary to support a war to support those that fight it."