Veterans Day is not a day off from school in Mineral Point. It’s a day to remember, to give thanks, and to learn. At the Elementary School, the students dress in red, white and blue and take part in an assembly in the afternoon.
The 5th grade plays an important role in the day. They draft letters to the veterans in town inviting them to today’s ceremony. And this morning they were fortunate to begin their day with a visit from WWII Veteran, and Mineral Point legend, Don Hawkins.
The kids already know Mr. Hawkins. Check out this youtube video created by 5th Grade Teacher Lifka Bennett as part of her summer school Home Town Legacies class.
This morning, Mr. Hawkins told the students about his service in WWII.
He brought in his uniform, his hat, and other artifacts from his years of service.
One student even got to put on Mr. Hawkins’ uniform!
Mr. Hawkins shared with the students his recent experience, taking a Badger Honor Flight to Washington D.C.. The Badger Honor Flight’s motto is “SERVING THOSE WHO SERVED FOR US.” This non-profit organization was formed in the spring of 2009, with a mission to fly all area WW II Veterans to Washington DC to see the memorials built in their honor.
Mr. Hawkins was humbled by the experience.
In Madison, Mr. Hawkins and his fellow Veterans were given a hero’s send-off by friends and family.
When their plane landed in Washington, they received the high honor of a firehose arch.
The Veterans are greeted and cheered by well-wishers.
They are given a police escort and everywhere they go, the route is lined with folks saluting and giving thanks.
The Veterans are treated with the highest of honors as they tour the monuments commemorating their bravery and sacrifices.
On the flight home, the Veterans are given a packet containing letters of thanks. Mr. Hawkins received a thick stack.
Some of them were from the 5th graders he talked with this morning. Many students thanked Mr. Hawkins, not only for his service, but for working with them in the school’s Oak Savanna.
Upon their return to Wisconsin, the Veterans are given yet another heros’ welcome.
Mr. Hawkins encourages his fellow Veterans, to take the flight, not only for themselves, but for their families. If you know of anyone eligible, and want more information, or if you want to contribute to the Badger Honor Flight, check out their website, or like them on Facebook where you can see even more photos.
– Contributed by the Hays (with assistance from Lifka Bennett and photos from the Badger Honor Flight Facebook page)
Thank you so much for this beautiful tribute to Don Hawkins & all veterans. Really beautiful pictures, and I felt I could get a truer representation of this whole event – I have read about it many times, but this article is really excellent, and the pictures tell a wonderful story!