Cafeterias and gymnasiums were filled with pride as students, staff and administration at the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District took time to thank those who gave them their freedom.

Campuses showed their appreciation for those who served in the armed forces by hosting Veterans Day Celebrations on Nov. 9 and Nov. 12.

“Today, we take time this morning to honor our veterans and recognize their service to our country,” said Irma Davis, principal at Dishman Elementary School. “The freedom that you’re able to get up every morning, go to your school, and receive an education. Those are all freedoms we should honor and celebrate every day.”

In preparation, campuses covered their hallway with patriotic colors and posters thanking veterans for their service. The bands and choirs took a similar approach by selecting songs appropriate for the occasion.

The celebrations honored the present and future veterans through student essays, songs and presentations. Students were selected to present their essays based on in-class competitions.

“Because of you Unknown Soldier, I am here,” said Brianna Rendon, fifth grade student at Dishman. “I don’t know you and not done anything for you, but there you stand ready to fight and there you are prepared to die for me. You’ve fought before and you’ll fight again for someone you don’t know. So thank you Unknown Soldier for fighting for me. I am here because of you, and I owe my future to you.”

Veterans from across the Rio Grande Valley were in attendance at the ceremonies. Some even served as guest speakers. They discussed the meaning of Veterans Day, and what their experience was like in the armed forces. Edgar Hernandez, former army specialist and prisoner or war, served as one of the guest speakers at Harlingen High School.

“The experience I had in Iraq changed me,” Hernandez said. “It taught me that we shouldn’t take life for granted and take advantage of every day. Each we have the opportunity to do something positive.”

After their speeches, many guests offered to answer any questions the students had for them. Students eagerly raised their hands for a chance to ask their questions, and guests were more than willing to respond with words of encouragement.

To conclude, students honored those who had who had lost their lives fighting for freedom, and were reminded to thank the veterans they saw without hesitation.

“When you see a veteran thank them,” said Herminia Ramirez, principal at Bonham Elementary School. Whether you see them at the mall, restaurant or movies, take that time and thank them for your freedom.”

Click here to view more photos from Austin Elementary.

Click here to view more photos from Bowie Elementary.

Click here to view more photos from HHS.

Click here to view more photos from Jefferson Elementary.

Click here to view more photos from Stuart Place Elementary.

Click here to view more photos from Zavala Elementary.

Click here to view more photos from Bonham Elementary.

Click here to view more photos from Dishman Elementary.

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