WILLIAMSBURG — Students, staff, veterans, and community leaders gathered at the Williamsburg Community Chapel on Nov. 10 for Providence Classical School’s annual Veterans Day celebration.
The celebration consisted of patriotic music, all military branch songs, and recognition of each veteran in the audience. The fourth and fifth grade recited the Gettysburg Address and “In Flanders Fields” by memory.
Tobi Wiseman, Providence Classical School Lower School Administrator, has attended the program for many years.
“We are passing on a culture of respect and tradition to our students of what it means to be a veteran. We are really trying to teach them that this country only has it’s freedom because of those who served and sacrificed. This ceremony is a tear-jerker from the very beginning with the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” to the service branch hymns. All together it encapsulates something that I don’t have personal experience with but I can appreciate it as I sit back and watch,” Wiseman said.
Students begin preparing for the annual ceremony during the first week of school. The entire school participates in the ceremony, from handing out programs, coloring thank you cards, singing songs, and thanking veterans as they enter.
This year’s keynote speaker, Al Kastner, spoke to those in the audience about what it means to be a veteran. Kastner served 20 years active duty in the U.S. Air Force before retiring in Williamsburg.
“When you sign up to serve, it’s like writing a blank check that is payable at any time to the United States that is good for any amount of time, any amount of work, and any amount of sacrifice,” Kastner said.
A poignant part of the ceremony saw all veterans invited on stage to be recognized for their service. Veterans in attendance ranged from pre-Vietnam service to those still on active duty today.
As the ceremony wrapped, students passed out Veterans Day thank you cards to those in attendance. The groups also gathered together to enjoy some snacks and celebrate the service of those veterans honored.