Arlington Hts. students honor veterans with hallway parade

  • Marine Corps veteran Mel Rozanski of Arlington Heights is greeted by students Friday during a parade through the hallways of Windsor Elementary School in Arlington Heights.

      Marine Corps veteran Mel Rozanski of Arlington Heights is greeted by students Friday during a parade through the hallways of Windsor Elementary School in Arlington Heights. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Second grader Hannah Tobin and her brother, Colin, a fifth grader, lower right, have breakfast Friday with their grandfather, Stephen Chapman of Huntsville, Alabama, during a Veterans Day event at Windsor Elementary School in Arlington Heights.

      Second grader Hannah Tobin and her brother, Colin, a fifth grader, lower right, have breakfast Friday with their grandfather, Stephen Chapman of Huntsville, Alabama, during a Veterans Day event at Windsor Elementary School in Arlington Heights. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Students sing patriotic songs during a Veterans Day ceremony Friday at Windsor Elementary School in Arlington Heights.

      Students sing patriotic songs during a Veterans Day ceremony Friday at Windsor Elementary School in Arlington Heights. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 

It's an annual Veterans Day tradition at Windsor Elementary School in Arlington Heights that's become more popular every year.

A total of 51 veterans -- eight more than last year -- enjoyed breakfast, patriotic songs performed by the 4th grade chorus, and a parade through the school hallways to honor their military service. Students at the K-5 school on Miner Street got to invite a parent, grandparent, family member or friend who has served in the military.

Every veteran who attended also got a packet of thank you notes from students, a decorated coffee mug, and certificate of appreciation. New this year was a "wall of stars" with names of veterans who could not attend or have died.

"It's nice to get kids involved on Veterans Day," said Laura Reed, a member of the school PTA who chairs the annual veterans breakfast, which is in its eighth year.

One of the veterans who attended, Elgin resident Michael Hood, served in the Army between 1969 and 1971. He was part of the firing squad that performed the 21-gun salute at military funerals. During the height of the Vietnam War, he helped conduct on average three funerals a week.

His wife, Gloria, remembers how Vietnam veterans were treated when they returned home. She thinks veterans are treated with higher regard today, much like those of her parents' World War II generation.

Events like the school's veterans breakfast help, she said.

"I think things are changing. I think it's coming back."

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