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Students in Charles County Public Schools celebrated American Freedom Week last week with events at schools recognizing those who serve in the U.S. armed forces.

Walking onto the blacktop at her school preparing for an American Freedom Week celebration, Jarah Eason, 6, a first-grader at Berry Elementary School in Waldorf, pointed to where honored guests, veterans and active members of the armed forces were sitting.

She said the reason for the event Friday was “celebrating the vets, the ones who saved the world.”

Veterans, she said, are special to the country.

Berry celebrated American Freedom Week by performing patriotic songs, recognizing military members in the school community and with a presentation from the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard Drill Team.

The drill team had an abbreviated performance due to the windy weather conditions but performed the whole drill, which was taped and shown to students later, in the school gymnasium.

During the celebration, there was a moment of silence. During that time students were instructed to hold up photos of family members in the service.

On the same day at T.C. Martin Elementary School in Bryantown, patriotism also was on display.

“First of all, we’d like to thank the men and women who have served and who are serving,” said T.C. Martin Principal Gregory Miller. He asked the 575 students of T.C. Martin what they can do to honor veterans.

Superintendent of Schools Kimberly A. Hill had students at Berry think of the same question.

Some examples she gave included placing their hand over their hearts for the Pledge of Allegiance. If a student saw a person wearing a military uniform, Hill said with parents’ permission they could go up to that person and thank them for their service.

Nate Kober, 10, a fifth-grader at T.C. Martin, explained what Veterans Day is and that it is the anniversary of the day that the armistice was signed ending fighting in World War I.

Between speakers from each class at the Bryantown elementary school who personally thanked veterans, music teacher Beth Lincoln led the gathering in singing patriotic songs, such as the national anthem, “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” and “Yankee Doodle.”

“They love this particular holiday, this particular activity,” said Melody Philpotts, student council sponsor. “They love saying thank you.”

In the audience was Vietnam War veteran Jim Long of La Plata, whose niece Amber Faasen, a fifth-grader at T.C. Martin, had encouraged him to attend the occasion.

“She’s really into patriotism,” said Amber’s mom, Abby Faasen. Long served in the U.S. Navy and said he enjoyed the event at his niece’s and nephew’s elementary school Friday morning.

Tech. Sgt. Kelly Grant, who is in the U.S. Air Force, attended the Berry celebration. She was invited to the event by her child who attends the Waldorf school. Grant said she loved the whole celebration at Berry.

“The kids are very patriotic, and I love it,” she said.

Nov. 4 to 8 was designated American Freedom Week for the school system. Schools across the county celebrated with various activities and celebrations.

gphillips@somdnews.com