There are around 21 million veterans in the United States; 522,188 live in Arizona, according to data from the Department of Veterans Affairs. To honor the hundreds of thousands of men and women who have served our country, students and staff in the Queen Creek Unified School District (QCUSD) hosted several Veterans Day ceremonies, performances, and assemblies.
The weeklong ‘thank you’ to our military started with an elegant dinner for veterans at Queen Creek Middle School. Students served the meal, the Wildcat band paid tribute to our veterans with a beautiful medley of patriotic music, and district leaders shared words of wisdom about the importance of honoring our heroes. Newell Barney Middle School hosted a sunrise ceremony and the backdrop of the event was a Wall of Honor featuring pictures of more than 400 veterans. At both events, QCUSD superintendent Dr. Perry Berry shared with students and families advice from Master Sergeant Raul Perez “Roy” Benavidez, a member of the United States Army Special Forces and retired United States Army Master Sergeant. Master Sergeant Benavidez believes if we all do the following, we can foster patriotism in our communities:
- Don’t just go through the motions of being patriotic. For example, we should really understand and value the significance of putting an American flag on display.
- Look for the good in all that we do and share that good with everyone you meet!
- The way we talk about veterans, the military, our patriotic values has an impact on others.
Veterans Day celebrations continued with elementary school students performing songs for each branch of the military. Veterans were invited to attend each performance and celebration. Some schools in the district held clothing drives for different veteran organizations throughout the Valley. Finally, as a show of appreciation, American flags were on display in front of all 11 schools in the district unifying the message that we are so grateful for the service and sacrifice of our veterans.