Students at Piner Middle School and Wakefield Elementary observed Veterans Day Friday by interacting with veterans at school events. A ceremony held at Kidd-Key Auditorium honored veterans with performances by Piner’s choir, band and orchestra. Wakefield Elementary held a day of events which began with an interactive military vehicle experience for students in the morning and continued with a veterans lunch in the afternoon.

Veterans Day is held each year on Nov. 11 to pay homage to the end of World War I, which ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. As the 11th falls on a Saturday this year, the schools held their annual celebrations on the 10th.

After performances by Piner students, a retired United States Air Force veteran James Calhoun spoke regarding his experience in active duty. He entered the Air Force after high school in Louisiana and his service brought him to Texas.

Eventually ending up at Perrin Air Force Base, Calhoun has been a resident of Sherman for many years. One of his grandchildren is currently attending Piner.

Calhoun explained his time spent in service allowed him to receive his college degree. He recalled the lessons he learned and opportunities he received because of his time in the Air Force.

“One of the best things that ever happened to me was when I joined the United States Air Force,” Calhoun said. “It taught me a lot of things. It made a better man out of me. It is important to work hard and dream big. I am proud to say that I am a United States veteran.”

Wakefield Elementary began its celebration with a parade of military vehicles. Students greeted the vehicles and the veterans who drove them with waiving flags. Wakefield Elementary Principal Eartha Linson said the veterans wanted it to be an interactive experience for students.

They allowed students to tour each of the vehicles and even climb inside. Afterwards veterans were invited for a special lunch at the school. Turkey, brisket, pork loin, sides and desserts were provided to any veterans in attendance. They were also treated to a video of the third graders performing a patriotic musical in honor of veterans.

The day ended with a presentation by VFW members about the flag. The veterans taught students the proper way to fold the flag and educated them on its history.

Linson explained the yearly event is important, not only to honor veterans, but also to help students understand veterans are real people.

“It was really nice,” Linson said. “I think it’s important that our students know who the history makers are. Who the people are that protect our country and the sacrifice they made and how they still love it. We are hoping that this will make them want to be better citizens and think about their responsibility to our country.”