By Jocelyn Pedersen
The Norman Transcript
NOBLE — Katherine I. Daily Elementary School in Noble hosted a Veterans Day assembly Monday to honor veterans and teach students about what it means to be a veteran, following lessons during Freedom Week.
“When 500 little bodies say the Pledge of Allegiance, it gives you chills,” said Cassie Huddleston, a kindergarten teacher at KID.
KID students learned about veterans and honored them at various times outside of the assembly by writing letters to them during a recent Honor Flight.
Randy Kersey has helped on seven Honor Flights that takes World War II, Korean, and Vietnam veterans to Washington, D.C., free of charge, so they can see all of the memorials. The daylong trip wraps up with a trip to Arlington Cemetery to watch the changing of the guard.
Kersey said each flight costs about $100,000 because they charter a 737 airplane to transport the veterans and their guardians.
A big part of the Honor Flights are the mail call. Kersey said when people went to war back then, they might be gone for five years. There were no e-devices of any sort, no Skype. Just letters. So the mail call was the only way to keep in touch with people back home.
Children in Darcy Smith’s class wrote letters to veterans who went on a recent Honor Flight, thanking them for their service.
“They are just generally overwhelmed by that,” Kersey said. “They get very emotional when they see flags drawn by a little child or a well thought-out letter written by a junior in high school thanking him for his service.”
At 90 years young, Richard “Doc” Orrell was the oldest veteran in attendance Monday at KID’s ceremony. Orrell received letters on his Honor Flight and decided to attend KID’s assembly.
That’s not all the faculty and students at KID did to honor veterans. Huddleston’s class made a quilt that was presented to Bob Delaney, the veteran in attendance, having logged 30 years of service.
The feeling of pride at the assembly is palpable. Huddleston said she gets teary-eyed.
Kersey also is proud of what he does. He said his involvement in Honor Flight was “one of those fate things. A divine intervention thing.”
His passion for the project shows.
“We have a limited amount of time to do what we want to do. These guys and gals were well into their 80s when the memorial was (built) there,” he said.
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