Small U.S. flags lined the driveway at the entrance to Selvidge Middle School in Ballwin on Nov. 11. and many of those entering the building were clearly well beyond their school years.
Inside, an atmosphere of celebration blended with the courteous and respectful attitude of the school’s students and faculty members as they paid tribute to veterans of U.S. Armed Forces on Veterans Day.
And, yes, there also were tears as the emotion of the occasion caught up with more than a few – both young and old – attending.
This year was the ninth Veterans Day observance at Selvidge. Some 185 veterans, spouses and special guests attended the event and were treated to a breakfast that Selvidge students served and helped prepare.
During the commemorative program that followed, students filled the bleachers in the gymnasium while veterans and guests occupied chairs in the middle of the large room. Student leaders Grace Bailey, Jasmine Phung and Shreya Gautam served as emcees.
The school’s band, orchestra and choir provided the music and Army veteran Mark Yeargain and Air Force veteran Robert Anselmo, the uncle of Selvidge Principal Dr. Michael Anselmo, were guest speakers.
Air Force Reserve Maj. Sandra Zahradka and her daughter Nicole, a Selvidge seventh-grader, continued a family tradition of conducting the ceremonial folding of the U.S. flag while Dr. Anselmo narrated the symbolism of each fold. Husband and father Matt Zahradka now is on active duty in the military.
Dr. Anselmo described the Selvidge observance as “a growth and learning experience for our students” and an event that emphasizes the spirit of community that prevails around the school.