Marion-Walker students honor veterans

PHOTO PROVIDED Local veterans receive thanks from Marion-Walker Elementary school students.

BELLEFONTE — The students and staff at Marion-Walker Elementary annually commemorate Veterans Day by honoring and thanking local veterans in the community.     This year, the festivities were held on Nov. 10 with activities all day long at the school. The students spent the entire day rotating through eight stations that highlighted various patriotic and military activities.

At the Airborne Operation station, Matt Cernuska, a member of the U.S. Army and teacher at the Bellefonte Middle School, shared videos of his experiences parachuting out of planes with his unit. He identified various types of military aircraft and demonstrated the proper jumping technique. After the students practiced a simulated parachute jump, they were able to practice safe landing rolls on mats.

Teaching how the military stays fit and healthy, Marine Beth Ashe put the kids through a workout of drills in the PT station.

Joe Horvath from the Boalsburg Military Museum kept the students mesmerized with stories and combat gear from the Vietnam War.

At another station, students learned about the bald eagle and why it was chosen to represent the USA as our national symbol. Mandy Marconi from the state Game Commis-sion shared feathers, eggs, and other artifacts about the bald eagle.

Army Veteran Adam Kuhlman shared reveille, taps and patriotic music at another station. He explained the history and meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance and Star Spangled Banner.

A favorite station of many students was led by a four-legged guest. Tom, a friendly Belgian malinois from the State Police K-9 squad, along with his handler, Trooper Tiracorda, demonstrated how dogs are trained and used to help the police and military.

Several dads, grandpas, and members of the U.S. Army Reserves in Pleasant Gap shared experiences and memorabilia at the Military Guest station.

Back in their classrooms, students colored pictures and wrote notes to veterans. These were given out to veterans who ate at the Texas Roadhouse in State College on Veterans Day.

Through all of these activities, students gained new understanding and a greater appreciation of our country and the military. Most importantly, they learned to remember, honor, and thank the veterans who make it possible for us to have freedom.