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Gabrielle Jansen / The Outlook Jim Pearson students perform "Grand Old Flag."

It was a show of song and dance to honor the military at Jim Pearson Elementary School’s Veterans Day program Friday. The annual program had different classes sing songs to veterans who were seated across from them at the school’s gym.

Veterans and members of the Alexander City Honor Guard attended the event. Benjamin Russell’s Navy JROTC presented the colors.

“(This) is my very first Veterans Day celebration in a school setting but my understanding is that at Jim Pearson this tradition has been going on for many, many years,” principal Angela Strickland said. “We have teachers here who participated in Veterans Day celebrations when they were children at Jim Pearson Elementary. So this is a long-standing tradition and I know it’s going to be a wonderful event.”

Second-graders sang the national anthem.

“(Friday) we have the opportunity to honor the men and women who have served our country,” student Levy Clark said.

Rayleigh Johnson and Hillary Staples introduced the pre-K and kindergarten classes singing “Grand Old Flag.” 

“Our original flag had 13 stripes and 13 stars to represent the colonies,” Johnson said. “Now our flag has 13 stripes for the colonies and 50 stars to represent our 50 states. We sure have grown.”

Kindergarteners also sang “My County Tis of Thee.”

“The song was so popular it became the unofficial (national anthem) until the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ was adopted in 1931,” Braiden Huntley said.

First-graders marched in time to sing “Veterans March.”

Robert McKinney read “Veterans Poem” for the crowd and Lucy Phillips, Braxton Patton and Westin Jones recognized everyone in the armed forces. 

First-graders sang “Thank a Vet,” which featured Olivia Heard soloing. Second-graders sang “A Candle for Remembering” with solos by Phillip Gainey and Dixie Carter.

The student body filled the gym singing “God Bless the USA” with teacher Laura Cotney.

The program ended with Alex City Honor Guard member Jimmy Funderburk playing “Taps.”

“Veterans, thank you for your service; thank you for your protection and defense of our rights as Americans,” Strickland said. “I hope that (Friday) we can honor you in such a way that you leave with a smile on your face and a little bit of warmth in your heart. Our children have been working hard to honor you.”