While students have yet to return to Meadows Elementary School for in-person classes, teachers and staff still wanted to find a way to recognize the men and women who have served, ahead of Veterans Day.
“We’ve been doing a Veterans Day celebration for several years now, and it is a way to honor our local families — the men and women who have served — and it gives our whole, entire community a chance to pause and pay tribute and respect to family members who served,” Principal Juliet Fine said. “It’s just a beautiful way to bring the community together.”
So in following with tradition, the school held its fifth annual Veterans Day celebration, which took on a drive-thru format this year, allowing students to visit the school’s special display during their lunch breaks.
“We’re just a very patriotic school, being the Meadows Stars, so this has always been one of our big events here, and we’ve done our best to still make it that way under the circumstances,” added Meadows office manager Jayne Wiggins, who helped coordinate the event.
This year, students were given the opportunity to walk past a lineup of military photos and uniforms from those in various branches of the military, ranging from the World War II-era to present day, before planting a flag on the school’s front lawn in honor of those who have served.
The display was set up by Santa Clarita resident Art Guzman and represents only part of his collection of military memorabilia.
“I don’t believe in keeping (this) stuff locked up … and what we do is we educate kids about family veterans,” Guzman said, referring to those kids whose family members have served. “We do it out of the love of our heart for these veterans … and do it with pride.”
Guzman is a veteran, along with six of his nine brothers. Three of the siblings were sent to Vietnam, back to back to back, including Guzman.
“For any veteran, this (holiday) hits home,” he said, adding that that’s why he and his wife have traveled to schools and other organizations to display his collection for 35 years.
Guzman takes pride in teaching kids what each ribbon means, and moreover, what each uniform represents.
“To instill pride in America for all these kids, to instill some pride in the uniform that all these guys wore, is so important,” Guzman added, “because when it comes time to throw down, we go to battle for the country, we’re defending our (country’s) freedom, and to me, that’s important, because one day these kids are going to be adults … and they’re going to remember this.”