Students salute veterans early at RHAM Middle School in Hebron

HEBRON -- Veterans Day is Saturday, but RHAM Middle School in Hebron celebrated early, on Thursday.

"The safety and security that they have that is all brought to them by the military and the men and women who serve," said current RHAM teacher, Karl Jancis. "I want them to understand how important that is.”

Jancis and a former RHAM teacher, Dawn Mallory, who passed away in 2014, started this event more than 20 years ago.

“We began with just a few veterans just from the VFW came on down and talked to the kid,” said Jancis. “We’ve added family members, we’ve had former students come, parents, grandparents, who were all veterans have come down and it’s grown to quite a big program.”

Some of those former students were in attendance this year, and say it's incredible to see that this event is still a tradition.

“It’s very cool to see that they still do it even after I have been gone for so long," says JJ Damicol, a former RHAM student who is currently serving in the U.S. Army.

The students started the day with a flag raising ceremony, got to talk to veterans, meet their K-9, test out their vehicles, and watch a flyover.

“It’s good for them to learn about what happened over there," said veteran and RHAM substitute teacher, Curt Munson. "It’s a lot different than movies, tv, anything else its… rough.”

The students said they look forward to this event every year, and for some it's especially personal.

"My father was deployed and he has done everything for this country, and he’s tried his best," said eighth grader, Sophie Olander. "It’s actually very nice that everyone appreciates it, as well as my family, we take it very seriously, we have more people in my family who are in the military so it just means a lot to me."

“It means a lot because my father is in the air force, and that people get to know like what he has gone through and everything he has done for this country," said seventh grader, Sydney Olander.

It is a reminder to all that there is a bigger meaning behind Veterans Day.