CLARION, Iowa — Every year the Veterans Day program at the Clarion Goldfield Dows School is a big deal.

The bleachers and chairs are mostly packed with community members, veterans, and students in the CGD School District.

“Every year our elementary students are involved kindergarten through fifth grade, kindergarten first and second graders do some of the decorations,” said  Trisha Rosendahl, an administrator with the Clarion Goldfield Dows Schools. “We teach them how to have a proper hand shake a firm handshake, and to look someone in the eye, and to tell them thank you with a smile on your face.”

The third graders have the honor of giving personal thanks to the veterans. When the CDG High School Band plays the theme song of the branches of service, the veterans stand to be recognized. That’s when a line of third graders forms to thank each veteran. 

“They fought for our country. They made us free,” said Carter Roberts, a fifth grader.

“I think it was a lot of fun, even though it’s a little bit of a pain to sit in the bleachers for a while it’s still very honorable to go and see veterans,” said Gracyn Schmeling, fifth grade.

The students also demonstrate the missing man ceremony, for those who may have lost a loved one in battle.

They also do a demonstration on how to properly fold the flag.

“In my 22 years service I had six kids,” said Don Katschke, Army veteran from Clarion “I had to leave them, come back to them, it’s really tough you know to do that to my children. These children give us respect we deserve, very heartwarming.”

The Veterans Day service originally began in nearby Dows. It was moved to Clarion when the school districts merged.