It's the kind of thing that just makes you proud to be an American. Flags waving ... Cheers, handshakes, and high fives all around ...
"It's an honor & a privilege. Both. Because most kids wouldn't -- kids at other schools don't get to do things like this."
Kaitlyn, Laurol, & Shekinah
Fifth Grade Students
"we want to make them feel like at home & loved." "And special and stuff." "We want them to know we appreciate what they did for us."
... The sounds of Rider's drumline echoing through the crowd ...
Iwo Jima Reunion Founder
"It makes you think back, more or less, to victory day! -- than anything, really. When you hear that drum beat, it's good news instead of bad news."
Rider High School Drumline
"Just seeing their expressions really all made it worth it."
The Iwo Jima vets -- together once more -- sharing their bond with the kids at Sheppard Elementary.
"It's just something that means a lot to them and means a lot to us. It's a two way."
Third grader Sam Peck shared some words of gratitude.
"I just wanted to give them the message that I'm happy for them to serve our country, because they're really nice & stuff."
The WWII heroes were thrilled to interact with these military kids .... & the feeling was mutual.
Sheppard Elementary Third Grader
"I've never actually gotten to shake hands or meet anybody that has ever earned the Medal of Honor. And this was the first time I've done it -- & it was awesome."
Cy Young says the most important message to pass on to younger generations is the huge cost of war ... the loss of life.
"I think that's the thing that wakes me up more than anything. When you realize that war kills. It kills. And the sooner we can get out of that, well, the better off we are."
And these students truly appreciate the sacrifices.
"Just -- thank you -- for everything you've done for our country. It really means a lot, and we can't thank you enough."
"Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"
Cy Young says after seeing all the enthusiasm this year ... The reunion is "on" again next year!
If you'd like to come out and meet these heroes, here is the schedule of events open to the public:
10 a.m. Flag-Raising Reenactment
1:30 - 3:00 p.m. Meet & Greet with the public
3 p.m. Missing Man Flyover (T-34 Texas Twisters)
Memorial Service 9 a.m.
Events at Holiday Inn by the Falls