STAUNTON, ILL. - For twenty years, the Patriot Club at Staunton Elementary has been teaching fifth graders how to show proper respect for the American flag and how to post the colors during a ceremony.
But working with local military veterans, the Patriot Club also focuses on another important skill: the proper way to show your gratitude when you see military veterans in public.
"They teach us to look for hats," explains Blake Moore, one of the students in the Patriot Club. "So we look for hats that shows their branch of service, and we go up to them and say 'thank you for serving'."
Moore recalls putting that training into action when he spotted a Vietnam veteran at Walmart.
"He was really happy when I did it," Moore smiles.
With help from Patriot Guard riders, the Patriot Club put on their annual program at Staunton Elementary last Friday.
More than 100 students performed marching demonstrations, patriotic songs, and other tributes to the families and veterans in the gymnasium.
Also watching, via satellite, were Navy sailors with the USS Illinois from their base in Groton, Connecticut.
Ronald Dustman is a retired sergeant with the Army who helps the students with the program. He is thrilled the students learn the proper way to express gratitude for the men and women who have worn the uniform.
"They'll come up to you and want to shake your hand and thank you for serving," Dustman says. "And if they don't get emotional, I do."
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