Sheri Samson
Students at Hawthorne Elementary School performed a variety of patriotic songs at their Armed Forces Day program May 16.

Something special took place at the Hawthorne Elementary Armed Forces Day school program on May 16, as children from each grade level took to the risers to sing out lyrics of America to a full crowd. Some children dressed in red, white and blue, while others wore shirts decorated in stars or camouflaged Army colors. In paying tribute to a patriotic message, songs such as “You’re a Grand Old Flag” presented by enthusiastic kindergarteners brought smiles, while little preschoolers stood like soldiers singing “This Land is Your Land.”

The second graders brought the lyrics of “Where the Stars, Stripes and Eagles Fly” and the third and fourth grade classes combined to share a song entitled “Thank You Soldier” as their moving tribute.

The fourth and fifth grade children came together in a fast moving song of the states entitled, “Nifty Fifty United States” which some kids later admitted that this nifty memorization will stay with them forever. To end this special evening, a rendition of “God Bless the USA” was presented by the fifth and sixth graders, as audience members could be heard whispering the lyrics along with them.

With no formal music programming being done at the elementary school level, all of the teachers came together to teach the songs and create a full evening of respectful music about America while honoring the soldiers of this country.

This was a precursor to the elementary school’s annual “Operation Gratitude” care packages for the troops, held at Veteran’s Park on Thursday, May 18 as an additional element of giving from our community. First grade teacher, Diana Isom, along with others, organized this vital outreach of sending supplies to the troops with a suggestion list available. Supplies can still be donated through the first of June, at the Farmer’s Insurance office in Hawthorne, who will be donating the shipping costs involved. Donations cannot be homemade foods nor have the ability to melt during shipping. Dried trail mixes and packet foods should meet the criteria set forth, as well as a variety of other personal items.