A Special Veterans Day at Mills Elementary


When John Hyvonen received a call from his grandson, a second-grader at Mills Elementary School, asking him to attend the annual Veterans Day program — he didn’t hesitate.

With only four-days notice, the Army veteran made sure he could get time off of work to be there for Mason.

And he was…



John Hyvonen traveled more than 1,000 miles to grant that request. What an extraordinary gesture! To book a flight from Ohio to watch his grandson perform in a school cafeteria in Palmetto, Florida. “It was getting a little cold at home,” Hyvonen said, “I’ll stay through the weekend to enjoy Florida weather and family.”



Dozens more veterans attended two separate Veterans Day programs at Mills Elementary School.



Principal James Mennes addressed the cafeteria filled with guests.



Music teachers Christopher Edwards and David Hahn did an amazing job directing the student performers.



They even played their own instruments at the start of the program.



Students sang a number of patriotic songs and recited poems from memory.



They collectively sang “You’re a Grand Old Flag.”




Then, a touching tribute to their heroes…



…as students distributed handmade poppy flowers to each veteran.



Each veteran stood to be honored as their own military branch was called.



Enjoy more photos from the patriotic performance:



Thank you to all of those who bravely served our country, including John Hyvonen, who brought special meaning to this Veterans Day.



#WeManatee stands for We are the School District of Manatee County. No matter what challenges we face, we strengthen each other when we stand together.













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