Schools across Hernando County are honoring veterans of the military today.
Spring Hill Elementary School invited veterans and present service members who are related to school staffers and students to breakfast and a program.
After breakfast, the children, dressed in red, white and blue, will gather in the courtyard to wave flags and sing My Country, 'Tis of Thee. Afterward, veterans will return indoors to hear the chorus and other students sing. Children will also read poems and stories.
The guests will be treated to a slide show honoring them while music from the various service branches is played. Flowers will be presented to families that currently have active-duty service members.
"We want to honor those who have sacrificed and those who are currently serving," said Barbara O'Sullivan, third-grade teacher and program coordinator. "We want our children to learn respect and pride for the United States of America and for those who honor our country by selflessly serving."
O'Sullivan said the school wanted to thank Publix for its food donations.
At Parrott Middle School, veterans also will be honored today. The program and breakfast are sponsored by the Student Government Association. Veterans countywide were invited.
A third school marking Veterans Day a day early is Westside Elementary. Students and the staff will honor all vets, especially those related to the Westside Elementary School family.
Breakfast will be served, funded by donations from Publix, Walmart and the staff. The Central High School Junior ROTC drill team will participate in the ceremony.
Fourth- and fifth-graders will sing patriotic songs, as will a couple of staff members. The safety patrol will line the walkway with flags and greet the guests. The K-Kids Club made and will display signs thanking veterans.
All of the veterans will be announced with their military background and their relationship to Westside. Staff members who have been in the military will be recognized.
The veterans will receive carnations.
"We want the children to know why they have off on Veterans Day and the sacrifices all these people have made for us," said Joyce Lewis, Westside assistant principal.
Fox Chapel Middle School had its veterans celebration Nov. 4. The Central High School color guard presented the colors. There were performances by Diana's Dance Express and the school's band and chorus.
The school had an essay contest, and the winning essay was read. There were guest veteran speakers, and all visiting veterans were acknowledged by military branch and given a red, white or blue carnation.
The purpose, said assistant principal Vivian Sweeney, was "to salute our veterans and to say thank you for serving and to honor them."