BRYAN, Texas — Ross Elementary School has been honoring the service of veterans’ in the community for over two decades now. 

What started as a small flag ceremony has grown into a huge celebration 22 years later.

“It's morphed into a full school event," said Lisa Tarver, the music teacher at Ross Elementary. "530 kids, 600 valentines, really good ones and we’re going to share them with the people in the community, around the community, we’ve shipped some to the VA and we want to share our love and support and appreciation of our first responders and our veterans."

Students performed and gifted baskets of cards they made to visiting veterans. This assembly invited first responders, veterans, and family members to attend.

“There are a lot of students in our school that kind of don’t have the knowledge," said Tarver. "They only see them when there’s some kind of desperate situation going on. And at that time, sometimes people are not at their best. I think this gives us a chance to think about what would happen if my grandmother was in a wreck. Who would I want to help them. Who are those people that show up?”

And just as special as this day is for the kids, it means just as much to the visiting veterans.

“I joined in 66’ retired in 86, [I was stationed in] Vietnam, Thailand, Arizona," said John Withers, a veteran who attended the event

“I served in Fort Hood, Panama, Germany, Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Saudi Arabia, quite a number of different places also,” said Henderson Springer.

“When I was in, anything you got in the mail, you live for it," said Withers. "You live for the day of mail call. Hoping you get something, anything.”

“I feel touched," said Spinger. "It’s real lovely. I do appreciate what the kids are doing for veterans and first responders. It’s a great program and I enjoyed it totally.”

Ross elementary begins reaching out to the community to notify them of this valentines celebration in November.

“These are the people that are keeping us safe, keeping us free and we want to honor those men and women and even those men and women that are protecting us and keeping our freedoms here in the united states,” said Tarver. 

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