Local veterans shed tears reflecting on their service and families as Carson Middle School students saluted them in song, letters, remarks and special signs posted on stakes on their school lawn Thursday.
Family members joined in the commemoration of their loved ones’ service whether they remain in active duty or retired, admiring the markers of honored relatives, friends and celebrities outdoors after a tribute concert involving the school’s choirs and band.
CMS choirs and bands performed a variety of songs, including a tribute to the armed forces recognizing members of the audience who have served. Briana Valley, choir director, and band director Nicolas Jacques, recently named as one of two Nevada Milken Educator Award recipients, led students in the musical portions.
Carson Middle School also celebrated a unique milestone of its own. The school is carrying on the 20th anniversary of its Veterans Day stakeout tradition in which it has been posting stakes honoring veterans. On Thursday, Carson City traffic slowed around the school to glance at the signs on the front lawn visible to the community with faces and brief summaries of those who have served in the military branches.
Lt. Cmdr. Robert Bledsaw, who assists with Navy youth programs, attended the concert and wandered on the lawn among the stakes afterward. Originally, he was enlisted for the Navy and said he was “voluntold” to be trained for the Marines only to be declined and ended up back with the Navy. He’s been leading local youth programs, which has been fun, he said.
Thursday’s program was special, Bledsaw said.
“This was awesome,” he remarked. “These young men and women have come up to sing our songs. Some of them made my eyes sweat a little bit.”
School trustee Richard Varner also attended the concert. Varner served as a crew chief for two tours in Vietnam and was among those honored during the salute. He praised Valley and Jacques for leading the students.
“I think the kids did a great job, it’s very humbling to be a veteran myself; I teared up a little bit,” he said. “It was an honor to serve in the United States Army. I’m glad I had the experience, and it was just very humbling to have a day like this for the veterans. ... I just want to give kudos to the staff here at Carson Middle School. The kids did a terrific job.”
Other schools are hosting their own Veterans Day events this weekend. Eagle Valley Middle School has a Vet Star wall display through Tuesday in its main corridor at 4151 E. Fifth St. Seeliger Elementary will host a concert at 9 a.m. Tuesday in its multipurpose room at 2800 S. Saliman Road. The event will offer an all-school choir, snacks and more.