Heartfelt words of thanks and an emotional father-son reunion were all part of a special day for 11 students from the Cherry Creek School District, selected as winners of the district’s Veterans Week Essay Contest. On December 7, the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the students, along with classmates and family members, visited the Walk of Valor and the Center for American Values in Pueblo, Colorado. They read their essays during a special ceremony at the Center, which was founded by Medal of Honor recipient and Pueblo native, Drew Dix. Pueblo is known as the “Home of Heroes” because it is home to four Medal of Honor recipients.
Indian Ridge first grader Kaden Lopez got a big surprise after reading his essay about his father, a Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy who is currently stationed in Djibouti, Africa. Thanks to a Skype videoconference arranged by the center and the district, Kaden was able to talk with his father, who told Kaden he was very proud of him. It brought tears to the eyes of nearly everyone in the audience. You can read more about it in the Pueblo Chieftan.
Dry Creek fifth grader Alison Chen enjoyed the outdoor exhibits along the Walk of Valor, part of the Pueblo River Walk, as well as the portraits of Medal of Honor recipients, which are on display in the Center for American Values.
“It’s really amazing how they honor these veterans who were willing to give up their freedom and safety for us,” said Aubrey LeFebre, an eighth grader at West Middle School.
Parent Anna Bekerman said the experience was a valuable one for her daughter, Alyssa, a sophomore at Overland High School. “It’s given her more insight and knowledge of veterans. Real learning. I think it will affect her for the rest of her life.”
See photos from the Pueblo visit and Veterans Week on the Cherry Creek Schools Facebook page. Watch our Veterans Week video here.