It was a full house Thursday in the gymnasium at Harry McKillop Elementary, as third grade students debuted their annual veterans program, “Honoring Our Vets.” Teachers, administrators, family members and friends observed as the students delivered an elaborate and heartfelt presentation.
Along with other veterans that came from out of town, and some from out of state, Rebecca Sue McKillop and her mother were in attendance for the performance. McKillop is the wife of the late Harry E. McKillop, World War II veteran and the school’s namesake.
The program began as veterans were led by a Scottish bagpipe player down the school’s main hallway. Veterans were seated in a special section and principal Walter Perez gave his welcoming remarks. Two students led the Pledge of Allegiance and the Texas Pledge, and observed a moment of silence. A 17-minute video slideshow followed, showcasing photos of students standing in front of an American flag backdrop, paired with old photos of family members that have served, or currently serve, in the military.
As the video ended, the entire third grade class of over 200 students entered the gymnasium risers to sing and dance to “Sing America, Sing,” “You’re A Grand Old Flag” and “America.”
Five students dressed in uniform as heroes from each branch of the United States military. Veterans in the audience were asked to stand when their branch was represented on stage.
Students then gave a poignant performance of “God Bless America” where they not only sang, but also used sign language. As the program came to a close, veterans were recognized for their service, and the audience gave a prolonged ovation.
The “Honoring Our Vets” program was a result of the diligence of the third grade class in conjunction with music director Pam Fortner.