2014 Veterans Day

We tried something new this year. Actually two somethings. First we danced to a song choreographed by John Jacobson. The little ones really loved it–the bigger ones, not so much, but they did it. Sixth Grade students are always so worried about how they will be perceived by the High Schoolers. The second thing that we tried was making a giant flag. I had my fingers crossed. It made me more than a little nervous as I spent a lot of time mapping it out, assigning shirt colors, and explaining it. We always go to the high school in October for the Battle of the Buildiings (a fund-raising event by the student council to benefit Camp About Face). This year I took pictures of every row, every section, and mapped the students’ seating positions. Then I color coded the map and told the teachers what colors for every student. It worked out pretty well. I didn’t get a photo of us singing (standing, with the 50 stars all held up) as I was busy directing. Someday I hope to see a video of it!


We sang four songs: “You’re a Grand Ol’ Flag” (our standard), “Eleven Eleven” (featuring our 1st grade–if I can get the audio recordings merged into the video, I’ll add it), “Our Red, White, and Blue” (one of the prettiest songs ever), and “This Is My Country” (not the traditional one but a new version by Music Express). Here are two of the videos:


America, the Beautiful

I created this video in 2004 and uploaded it in 2008. The music track is by Plank Road Publishing. That was before I knew anything about getting permission for posting on YouTube. Luckily, the nice folks there let me keep it up on the web, because it has been a comfort to many people across the country, especially the young students who really love it. It has over 800,000 views and over 400 comments. This song also seems to draw a lot of wrath from people from other countries who don’t share our love of liberty. Long ago, I locked it down so it couldn’t get anymore comments unless I approved them. There were also a lot of discussions about this song versus our National Anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and which is the better song for our country. Hope you enjoy it!

This Flag We Fly

The NDE students have been working on Veterans Day since the beginning of the school year. “This Flag We Fly” is a new song for us this year, and it has quickly become a favorite. What a beautiful song from MUSIC K-8! I really appreciate the songs in this wonderful magazine by Plank Road Publishing. This video features my Fifth Grade students.

Gratitude Attitude

Every year I feature the First Grade in a video for our Veterans Day Program. I’ve done this now since 2005. This year’s song is an adaptation of the song “Gratitude Attitude.” We changed the words to reflect our pride in American servicemen and women. A dozen or more students taped lines about their own family Veteran. The first and second grades are singing in the video.

Thank a Vet (Take 2)

Last year NDES students sang a different version of “Thank a Vet,” a Plank Road Publishing song. I wanted a more upbeat song for the First Grade, so I arranged a bluegrass version. The students loved the song though, so I decided to try it again this year, in the more traditional version. The Third and Fourth Grades sing in this video.

50 Nifty States

This year’s Veteran Day program was again held at the high school. We sang “You’re a Grand Ol’ Flag,” “Oh, I Love American,” “In Service of Our Country,” “50 Nifty United States,” and “One Nation.” Three of the songs came from Plank Road Publishing, from their magazine MUSIC K-8. I have amassed quite a large collection of their songs! This year, I adapted a song, the 50 states one, and it turned out really nicely. It’s hard to keep the beat though with 650 plus voices, and I noticed in the radio broadcast one side of the gym pushed the tempo a bit. Not too shabby though for little kids to learn all 50 states in alphabetical order (by memory too, as even though it was projected on the gym wall, they really knew it). If you would like the scrap pages that I made of all 50 states, click on the picture for a link where you can download one or all. The songs are on my YouTube channel. I didn’t save the radio broadcast; I wish I had! It was a lot of fun!