Lighthouse Christian School is on a mission to teach students to honor U.S. veterans, filling their Dagsboro chapel at their annual Veterans Day program on Nov. 13.
A special tribute to World War II included student-led skits, prayers, songs and recognition of military families.
Before a full house of veterans and families, children sang songs from the 1940s, explained memory boxes and witnessed a POW/MIA remembrance ceremony.
Lighthouse Christian has two main goals, said organizer Pat Viguie: first, to honor veterans, families, current service members and those who paid the ultimate price.
The second mission is to educate. Children ages 3 to 14 put hours of work into the performance before the event even begins.
“We love America and we love our veterans,” Viguie said.
Lighthouse Christian isn’t the only ones. Honor Flight is a nonprofit that takes veterans to see their memorials in Washington D.C. for free.
With 134 hubs across the U.S., Honor Flight has transported over 140,000 vets since its inception in 2004. It all started when a physician’s assistant was treating a WWII vet and offered to personally fly him to D.C. He came home to find a veritable waiting list of veterans dreaming of the same opportunity.
“We travel big,” said Andrew Schiavello, president of the Philadelphia chapter. “We dedicate the day to you.”
In three years, Honor Flight Philadelphia has carted 62 busloads of vets (and guests) to Washington, with an honor guard or police escort every mile of the trip. The convoy begins at Arlington National Cemetery to remember those fallen, then travels to every major military memorial across town. School children write letters, and distinguished guests great the veterans on site.
“There’s nothing that can disqualify a veteran from travel [except a doctor’s order], and then we bring Honor Flight to you,” Schiavello said.
The next trip is on May 21, 2016. Special medical accommodations can be made. People can learn more at www.honorflightphiladelphia.org.
Back at Lighthouse, veterans received a special gift from the “A Hero’s Welcome” organization.
“[When serving in the military,] Can anyone tell me what you looked forward to?” asked Director Rosely Robinson.
“Chow” one man answered, and the others laughed.
“Mail call” was the correct response, and every WWII vet received an envelope of student letters and a small fabric star, salvaged from an American flag.
Every Lighthouse veterans event ends with a handshake of thanks between every service member and every guest. Veterans were then invited to share a luncheon catered by local restaurants.