The Tamaqua Area School District's Veterans Day observance has grown in leaps and bounds in the past several years. The district had been conducting a program at the senior high school flagpole for years, inviting veterans and their families to stand with the students as everyone paid their respects to the defenders of America's freedom. Three years ago, Assistant Elementary Principal James J. Fasnacht suggested expanding the program to the district's three elementary schools. The idea was embraced by staff and students alike.

Tamaqua Elementary held its program on Wednesday. The school's first floor was covered in a sea of red, while and blue. Every student was represented, either by artwork or a craft. Paper stars with the names of veterans filled the windows. The dozens of veterans and family members in attendance surrounded the students, packing the school's cafeteria.

Fasnacht welcomed everyone, offered thanks for the help he had received and turned the program over to Samantha Yanchera, organizer and music teacher, and Tim Murphy, co-coordinator and math teacher. Each class then presented a patriotic song or poem.

Students brought in photos of their family members and friends who currently or previously wore an American military uniform. The photos were then shown as a slide show. Due to the large number of photos, the slide show was shown in two parts.

The program ended at the flagpole, where students and family members surrounded a Tamaqua American Legion Honor Guard, complete with rifle volley, and musicians from the Tamaqua Raider Band playing "Taps."

Additional programs were scheduled for Thursday at the Rush Elementary School; 9:30 a.m. Friday at West Penn Elementary School; and 7:30 a.m., Monday, Nov. 11, at the Tamaqua Area Senior High School.