Emily Short, 4, Burlingame, speaks with SFC Jeff Troth, 1st
Infantry Division, at Friday’s presentation. Emily wore
a shirt with a photo of her sister, Brittany Moore, and button
with photo of her brother, Cody Moore, both of whom currently
serve in the armed forces.
Gabe Faimon | Reporter
On Veterans Day, seven Burlingame Elementary School classes
each received a United States flag, which had been flown on
a Dec. 28, 2010, helicopter combat mission in Iraq.
During presentation of each flag and accompanying certificate
on Veterans Day, Army Major Joshua Berryhill said, “In
my unit, we have a tradition of flying American flags on combat
missions and then sending them back home as tokens of appreciation
for people who send support through care packages, supplies
and letters of thanks. That is why I am here today. While
my unit was deployed in Iraq last year, the students of Burlingame
Elementary took time to write us letters.”
In observance of Veterans Day 2010, elementary school students
wrote letters of thanks to soldiers on duty in Iraq. Teachers
and classes that participated in the letter-writing effort
included: Trish Paree, kindergarten; Jill Laws, kindergarten;
Chelsi Gardner, first grade; Kandi Lee, second grade; Kim
Peterson, second grade; Amy Heckman, third grade; and, Amy
Westeman, fourth grade.
Adam Hunt, then future son-in-law of Paree, served as the
link between the students, their letters and the flags. Hunt,
a helicopter pilot, was deployed with Alpha Company Devils,
1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, of the 1st Combat Aviation
Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, based at Fort Riley. Hunt
is now a medevac pilot in Farmington, Mo.
Berryhill, a former Topeka resident, is operations officer
of the 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion. He served tours
of duty in Iraq in 2003, 2005 and 2010.
Student representatives who were selected to receive the flags
and certificates for their classmates included Tyler Baker,
Alexandra Crook, Hunter Dorsey,
Evan Young, Caitlynn Burns, Kelsie Quaney and Dalton Sporing.
Except for the presentation by Berryhill and Burlingame Elementary
Principal Tamara Buche serving as master of ceremonies, students
performed the ceremony, which opened with Burlingame Cub Scout
Pack III, under leadership of Stacie Thomas, forming the color
guard. Fourth-grade student Zachary Fitzgerald led the Pledge
of Allegiance. My Country ‘Tis of Thee was sung by the
kindergarten to fourth-grade choir, directed by Skyler Brussee.
The Treble Cats, also directed by Brussee, sang God Bless
America. A medley of service songs of the armed forces was
performed by the Burlingame High School band, directed by
Mark Hecht. Under direction of Linda White, the BHS show choir
sang My Country ‘Tis of Thee. To honor soldiers who
had fallen while serving their country, trumpeter Chris Mohn
presented Silver Taps. Closing the ceremony, the colors were
retired by the color guard.
A patriotic display of American flags along the entrance was
presented by members of American Legion Riders Post 421.
Before presenting the flags and certificates to class representatives,
Berryhill said, “We have many, many examples of courage,
service and sacrifice to reflect on today. We give thanks
to live in a country where citizens from every generation
have willingly and courageously raised their hands to stand
the watch. Let’s use the opportunity now, and on Veterans
Day in years to come, to celebrate service to our nation,
to demonstrate the appreciation we have for our military and
to inspire future generations to dedicate themselves in the
name of the many who have served before them.”
When the flags arrived at the school in March, Buche and teachers
decided to keep them a secret. Buche began making plans to
feature presentation of the flags and certificates during
a ceremony on Veterans Day. As the day drew nearer, Brussee
and Hecht assisted with final arrangements.
In addition to students, the bleachers were filled with members
of the Burlingame community. Many veterans stood while their
respective service songs were played by the BHS band.