Every student at Saint Hubert Elementary School in Hoffman Estates was attentive Friday morning as members of VFW Post 5151 demonstrated the folding of an American flag.
Korean War veteran Fred Hossfeld listed the meaning behind each of the 13 folds as four of his comrades participated in the procedure.
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The ceremony in the school's gymnasium marking Veterans Day was just one of many held at schools across the Northwest suburbs this week.
Besides the flag-folding, the St. Hubert's students and more than 100 community members in attendance witnessed the playing of "Taps" and the presentation of colors. Patriotic songs were played by the school band and cards that will be delivered to veterans at Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital were collected.
"They do a really good job in this school, the teachers do, as far as instructing the children and they seem to really, really appreciate Veterans Day," VFW Post 5151 Cmdr. Robert Mattson, a Vietnam veteran, said. "The kids really enjoy it, and we enjoy them too."
Assistant Principal Marcia Larson said she is pleased that the children get to experience the ceremony and meet the veterans.
"It's a feel-good day for everybody," she said, adding that this year more than 70 veterans were in attendance, many of whom were relatives of the students. "In addition to honoring the veterans, we're trying to educate our students about good citizenship and responsibility and service to country ... It's really a community effort."
Student council President Trevor Scianna, who is in eighth grade, provided an introduction for the event and played the snare drum with the school band throughout the ceremony.
"I learned that it's important to remember what people do for us," he said, adding that he was glad students were able to thank veterans for their service through the event.
New this year was a ceremony honoring Americans still missing from each of the five branches of the Armed Forces.
Seventh grader Rose Chiodo explained the symbolism of various objects at a table surrounded by five chairs covered in the POW/MIA symbol. A white tablecloth represented the purity of the servicemen's motives when answering the call of duty. Slices of lemon, which art teacher Sue McCarthy placed on the five plates at the table, were a reminder of the bitter fate of those captured and missing abroad. A candle was lit at the end, symbolizing the light of America.
Afterward, Chiodo's great uncle, John Silberbauer, an Army veteran of the Korean War, had someone take a picture of him with Rose.
"It's just very personal," he said as they stood in front of a wall listing more than 100 names of veterans who have ties to people at the school and parish members.
Hanover Park Mayor Rodney Craig did three tours to Vietnam during his six years in the Navy.
"This is the type of thing I love to see our churches and schools model," he said, adding that it means a lot to veterans. "It's just a feeling of honor."