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Hickam Elementary Hosts The Greatest Generation
by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Christopher Stoltz - December 24, 2015

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JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii (December 3, 2015) – On a normal school day, students from Hickam Elementary receive history lessons from their teachers.

However,  they had a chance to speak to individuals who are actually in their history books; as members from "The Greatest Generation" visited and spent their day at the school.

Members of the Pearl Harbor Survivor's Association stand at attention during the pledge of allegiance during their visit to Hickam Elementary, Dec. 3, 2015, here on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. During the visit, the survivors provided stories to students and faculty, enjoyed a school lunch and were treated to a choral performance by the school's music department. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Stoltz)
Members of the Pearl Harbor Survivor's Association stand at attention during the pledge of allegiance during their visit to Hickam Elementary, Dec. 3, 2015, here on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. During the visit, the survivors provided stories to students and faculty, enjoyed a school lunch and were treated to a choral performance by the school's music department. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Stoltz)

The visit marks the second time the Pearl Harbor survivors have visited Hickam Elementary, and allowed students to learn more about the attack on Pearl Harbor from individuals who were there in person.

“Our students were able to experience living history by interacting with these remarkable men,” said Alisa Estrella Bender, Hickam Elementary School principal. “Their personal stories and shared experiences gave our students greater awareness to honor, sacrifice and patriotic duty.”

One of the students who were fortunate enough to speak with the survivors was fifth grader Chloe Malone, who said having the opportunity to speak to the survivors is something she will always remember.

“Listening to the survivors allowed us to learn more about the event from their perspective,” said Malone. “I would like to thank them for their service, and anyone who is currently in the military as well.”

After hearing stories about the attack on Pearl Harbor and fielding various questions from the students, the Pearl Harbor survivors enjoyed a school lunch and even attended a formal concert.

Songs from students ranging from kindergarten to sixth grade filled the concert hall, bringing tears to many eyes in the room. After the songs ended, survivors gave thanks to the children for their performances. Although the room was loud seconds earlier, one could hear a pin drop as the survivors gave thanks and made their way back to the shuttle which brought them to Hickam Elementary.

Principal Bender quoted former President John F. Kennedy and said: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

“For us, we were reminded to live our gratitude for what these men, as well as other veterans have done for our nation,” said Bender.

Although the "Greatest Generation" will be very busy with next year's 75th remembrance, they said they would make time and come back to Hickam Elementary.

“We would be honored to have them back next year,” said Principal Bender. “It touched our hearts when they said they wanted to come back to Hickam Elementary School again.”

By U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Christopher Stoltz
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2015

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