Youngsville Elementary Middle School took a break from regularly scheduled classes on Monday to honor veterans.
Initially, the school had not scheduled a program for students in honor of Veterans Day, but that wasn't a situation that students were going to let stand.
When seventh-grade chorus students found out, they didn't just accept the holiday being treated as just another day at school, instead they took matters into their own hands and organized a program for fellow students.
Times Observer photo by Jacob Perryman
Ike Erdman spoke to students at Youngsville Elementary Middle School about his experience in the Navy and as a veteran during a Veterans Day assembly at the school on Monday.
The event opened with a flag ceremony by members of Boy Scout Troops 13, 31 and 22.
The chorus led singing of the "The Star Spangled Banner" and then presented a rendition of "America the Beautiful".
Following the opening, Ike Erdman spoke to students about his military experiences during the Korean War and immediately after, and explained what it's like to be a veteran.
"First of all you get a lump in your throat when you hear 'The Star Spangled Banner'," Erdman said.
He told students he was first inspired to join the military when he was still in school. He recalled watching troops return after World War II.
"When I got old enough I wanted to be in the military," he said.
Erdman said he joined the Navy and gave a little insight into what boot camp was like.
"One of the first things they teach you is 'I'm not your mother'," he said. "You learn a little discipline."
He noted he was stationed off of the coast of Korea and later, after the Korean War, in the Formosa Strait.
Erdman recalled visiting a number of countries during his service and said he left with a host of new friendships and experiences.
"The other thing you learn is to get to know a lot of people," he said. "You make a lot of friends. You form life-long friendships. You travel around and see a lot of different countries and a lot of things you've never seen before. You learn to love your country more than anything."
He also cautioned against taking living in America for granted.
"We take it for granted what America is like to live in," Erdman said. "The United States, for all its faults, is still the greatest country in the world to live in."
Erdman then answered some questions from the students.
In addition to Erdman, a number of other veterans were also in attendance and were given the option to stand and give their name, branch of service, where they served and what years they served.
A handful of student questions were collected prior to the assembly for the veterans to answer.
The school also gave the group student-produced thank-you notes.
A multimedia presentation of historic American conflicts was then presented.
The assembly closed with the chorus leading a sing-a-long to "God Bless the USA."