Students Thank Veterans Near And Far

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NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KFSM)-- Students from all over Northwest Arkansas Friday (Nov. 10) gathered to say thank you to veterans all over the country.

Students at Ruth Baker Middle School in Bentonville received the opportunity to hear the stories that veterans had to share.

One of those veterans was retired Army Lt. Colonel David Phillips.

Phillips spent time with the military police during his service and was at the Pentagon on 9/11.

“I was physically standing approximately 20 feet from the path of the aircraft that crashed into the Pentagon," Phillips said. "The Pentagon is a very well constructed building. Somehow miraculously the floors held even though they had no support after the aircraft crashed into the first two floors and all of our office was able to escape unharmed after that attack.”

For students like sixth grader Bella Watkins, hearing stories like this was surprising.

“It’s amazing the circumstances they had to go through and how hard it was to be away for a long time," Watkins said.

Along with hearing various speakers from different branches of the military, students helped serve lunch to veterans.

They even tied in their studies on the Vietnam War by hearing from someone who fought during that time and who works at the school.

Over in Springdale at the Sonora Elementary School, students sang songs and read letters to veterans.

For the past few days, the school prepared the students by teaching them what the holiday is about.

Cloey Wade is a fifth grader and a member of the choir that sang during the event.

She said while they practiced, their teacher reminded them that this is about remembering the sacrifice people made over the years in various wars.

She said emotions ran high all week.

“There’s a lot of people who have veterans in their family that are really trying to remember and they are just really appreciative that their family has served for the country," Wade said.

One of Wade's teachers, Shannon Price, said not all students understand what this event is about.

“It’s hard for them to understand what really happens in a war," Price said. "You know they think about what they see in movies and TV and video games. So they don’t always fully understand what that means to have somebody deployed and to have somebody that is in harm’s way on a daily basis in some cases.”

She said they try to get the kids to understand that the freedom they have is all thanks to people like these veterans.

The message to veterans was the same at both schools.

“Thank you for serving us, serving our country and we really appreciate it," Watkins said.