Coronado Middle School (CMS) hosted active duty military and veterans for breakfast at its annual Take A Veteran to School Day, Wednesday, November 8th. Military kids were joined by their Veteran parents and friends for a delicious breakfast and a program that included remarks from City Council members John Duncan and Mike Donovan followed by a beautiful performance of How do you tell a Veteran ‘Thank You‘ sung by the Advanced Performing Arts students.
John Duncan kicked off the program saying, “We really do appreciate and acknowledge the sacrifice of everyone that serves, and we feel it, and I wanted to make sure today we recognize the veterans and service members, and that we also thank the children and families that also sacrifice. Thank you so much for your service.”
Mike Donovan followed it up by saying, “I want to thank the school district for hosting this event to recognize our Veterans and Active Duty members that are the family and friends of our students here at the middle school.”
Two World War II Veterans were the guests of honor and provided brief remarks prior to commencing the walk through the Line of Gratitude.
During breakfast I asked WWII Army Veteran Andre Chappaz why he came to the event and he said, “I love coming to these events. I am 98 years old, who can you relate to at that age? So I love coming here, it brings back a lot of memories. I like to get out of the house and be with people.” Andre served in the Army’s 1885th Engineer Aviation Battalion during the war, he spoke of his time with the Corps of Engineers helping build airfields in Guam, and served around the South Pacific.
U.S. Navy Veteran Gil Nadeau spoke to the crowd saying, “Andre and I love coming to this school to talk with you, when we go to other schools the children there are not from military families and you students are so you have an understanding of what we might be telling you, and that is wonderful.” Gil shared funny stories about his experience on the ship in the South Pacific and compared it to the ships today, saying how small and slow it was. He shared that when he joined the Navy at age 16 he did it because the United States was in a World War. After Pearl Harbor was attacked Gil said everyone wanted to serve, to fight and “kick butt” and then get back to normal lives. He talked about how there were no women in the Navy when he served, then commented on having talked to a female Navy Captain just that morning. There were a number of military women service members in the audience with their children, symbolizing just how diverse the military has become since those days.
“This event is sponsored by Spectrum and we appreciate their support for making this a possibility and making this happen,” shared CMS Principal Brooke Falar. Take a Veteran to School Day is a key component of The HISTORY Channel’s outreach to honor, recognize and support veterans and military families. The 13th annual event honored veteran guests with a heartfelt “thank you” for their service.
After the remarks, all of the veterans and active duty members were invited to walk through the Line of Gratitude on Cutler field where the students waved flags and thanked the veterans while the CMS Band played the service hymns.