Four branches of the nation’s military were represented Thursday morning as local active duty and veteran military personnel talked and read to fifth-grade students at Hilltop Elementary School in Glen Burnie, Maryland.
Splitting up to attend four different classrooms were Army Lt. Col. John Ratliff of Elkridge, retired Navy Capt. Paul Mullenhoff of Bowie, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Gayle Bremer of Severna Park and Marine Corps veteran Nicole Richard of Annapolis. After introductions and a bit of background about their role in the military, they read books about World War I, shared medals, ribbons and mementos, and then answered a barrage of questions from the students.
The visit is part of a collaborative effort of the Hospice of the Chesapeake’s We Honor Veterans program, in partnership with Fort George G. Meade, the U.S. Naval Academy and Anne Arundel County Public Schools, to prepare the students for the nonprofit’s Veterans Day celebration, an event that will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Nov. 10 at the Bowie Knights of Columbus’ Boswell Hall.
The intent of the visit was to help the fifth-graders understand how important it is to thank veterans for their service, which is precisely what the students will be doing at the event. Led by their music teacher, David Shepherd, a select group of the fifth-graders will
share expressions of gratitude and perform “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America.”
The event’s program also will include a commemoration of the centennial of both World War I and Fort George G. Meade, performances by Voices of Vets, Inc., and an opportunity for all veterans in attendance to be recognized individually for their military service.