MEREDITH — Students and guests at the Inter-Lakes Elementary School Veterans Assembly got to see first hand how an American flag is folded, heard patriotic songs performed by the elementary school band and chorus and saw video presentations prepared by students honoring veterans Tuesday morning.
Julie Krisak, the school's music teacher, who has organized the gathering every other year for the last decade, said there were so many guests this year, more than 100, that the assembly was shifted from the multipurpose room to the school's gymnasium.
''It was the biggest one we've ever had,'' said Krisak, adding that breakfast, which is normally served in the library, was shifted to the cafeteria in the multipurpose room so that there would be enough room for all of the guests.
PTO mothers helped prepare the continental style breakfast, which included muffins, breads, doughnuts, danish and fresh fruit. There was also a pancake station, manned by fourth-graders, who made the pancakes as part of a school math project.
Former Griggs-Wyatt Post American Legion Commander Robert Kennelly and Master Sgt. Elliott Finn, both of whom served in the Korean War, demonstrated how to fold an American flag with assistance from veteran Dennis Bickford of Meredith.
Finn observed that when the 13 folds are completed, the flag resembles a tri-corner hat, the type worn by soldiers in the American Revolution.
Members of the school's Leadership Project, which has been selling patriotic double U.S.A. flag pins and patriotic wrist bands, presented the proceeds from the project to representatives of the New Hampshire Soldiers Home in Tilton. Several veterans from the home attended the assembly.
Among the veterans attending were three World War II veterans who currently live at the Forest View Manor in Meredith; Marjorie Gilman who served in the Waves for three years; Harold Buker, a Marine who served in the Pacific Theater and Frank Banks, who was with the U.S. Coast Guard for two years.
Gilman said that she was based at the Chelsea, Massachusetts, Naval Hospital and rose to the rank of Pharmacist Mate Second Class.
Banks, who grew up on Wakefield, Massachusetts, said he served in the North Atlantic ''chasing German submarines'' at the end of the war.
Buker, a native of Everett, Massachusetts, said that he was at Guadalcanal during 1942 and remembers losing his German shepherd watchdog to a Japanese sniper. He was also wounded himself later in the war and spent over a year in a military hospital.
''They patched me up pretty good. I served with a bunch of good men,'' said Buker, who refers to himself as ''war dog'' when describing his experience in the military.
Krisak said the experience of meeting with the veterans is an important part of learning about history for the elementary school students.
''They know why they are off from school on Veterans Day and understand how important veterans are in our history and why we honor them,'' said Krisak.
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