In a handwritten note to veteran and active duty soliders, a third-grader weaved a message of gratitude and empathy.
"I love every last one of you soldiers because you have saved country, and for all the holidays I wish you could be with your family," Vaughn Effert, 8, wrote.
It's just one of the many notes Brookfield Elementary youth have made for WWII veterans to open during their mail call on a future Honor Flight trip to the National WWII Memorial in Washington D.C.
Students also have raised more than $700 in donations to the Badger Honor Flight Network by selling about 700 flags for $1 each that the school will display during a ceremony at 9 a.m. Friday. Each flag will bear the name of a veteran, and some veterans will be on hand Friday as the school's band plays and third-graders sing "America the Beautiful."
It's one of several Veterans Day celebrations (listed below) that are planned by schools and other groups.
"The students have been excited about this," said Sharon Gardner, school administrative assistant.
It's the first time Brookfield Elementary has collected money for the veteran memorial flights. Karen Hamilton, the principal's administrative assistant, came up with the idea and organized the fund raiser.
As students learn about relatives, family friends or neighbors who have served and the sacrifices they made, "it's been a little bit of a history lesson for them," Gardner said.
Gardner's uncle Roy Schultz, a WWII Navy veteran, got to travel on an Honor Flight about a year ago. "I still get kind of choked up," she said, remembering the emotional scene at the airport where she welcomed him home.
"There wasn't as much publicity back then about the flights," Gardner said. "So it was a total surprise."
Area Veterans Day events:
7 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.: , 1500 Pilgrim Pky, Elm Grove: Sixth graders will help provide continental breakfast for veterans from the American Legion Post 449 and other posts. The story of "Taps," playing of taps by band members, National Anthem and more
9 a.m.: , 2530 N. Brookfield Rd: parade outside the school to display 700 flags, band music and song.
10:25 a.m. - 11:11 a.m.: , 16185 Burleigh Place: gym assembly with star decorations bearing veteran names, two all-school patriotic songs with 5th grade band and orchestra, visits from special honorary guests
11 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.: , 13605 Underwood River Pkwy, Elm Grove: veterans assembly in gym with remarks by local veteran Don Adams
1 p.m.: St. John's Northwestern Military Academy, 1101 Genesee Street, Delafield: Annual Salute to Veterans and Flag Pageant will include a walk from Cushing Elementary School to the academy's Farrand Hall Gymnasium. Colors presentations, bands, songs and a 21-gun salute
6 p.m.: Stenz-Griesell-Smith American Legion Post No. 449, 3245 N. 124th St., Brookfield: the public is invited to watch local boy scouts and veterans properly dispose hundreds of tattered flags collected by and the Exchange Club in a solemn burning ceremony.