(UPDATE: 10 a.m., May 26)—On any other day, international conflicts may be the furthest things from the minds of Perry Hall Elementary students.
"It's important to explain to kids the price that was paid for them to be free and go to school," said veteran Paul Watson, commander of the Overlea-Perry Hall American Legion Post.
"To be able to expose kids to our experiences, it's a great thing," said veteran Paul Wolod, second vice commander at the American Legion.
Daphne Tholen, a fifth-grader who played the flute during the program, said her participation was an emotional experience.
"Hearing everyone singing the 'Star-Spangled Banner,' I was almost crying because I could really feel the meaning of Memorial Day," she said.
"It was cool that all the veterans came and we got to see someone who served in World War II," added fifth-grader Julianne Johnstone.
Tyler Probst, another fifth-grader, who played trombone during the program, said he felt a debt of gratitude to the former soldiers who spoke to them.
"They've done this great service to us, and today, we got to do a little something for them," he said.
Dennis M. Robinson, Jr., president of the Perry Hall Improvement Association, said the annual event has become a staple of his Memorial Day celebration.
"I cannot think of a better way to celebrate Memorial Day than being in the presence of local veterans and listening to children belt out patriotic songs. No matter how patriotic you are, anyone who attends this event has to be even more patriotic when they leave," Robinson said.
He added: "Please remember that Memorial Day is about more than cookouts. It is a time to thank veterans whom we owe for the numerous freedoms we enjoy and to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.”
Tell us about the people you're celebrating and remembering this Memorial Day in the comments.