COEUR d’ALENE — It began with silhouetted scenes.
Young men receiving their weapons upon enlisting in the service.
Soldiers at war, dying on the battlefield.
A family mourning with the delivery of a letter, then grieving at a gravesite.
Somber strings sounded from the speakers in the darkened LAM Christian Academy auditorium Thursday. A voice spoke words from the Gettysburg Address: “That from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
After a quiet moment, the schoolchildren burst through the doors, stepping to the “Colonel Bogey March" and waving tiny American flags, reminding the audience of the eternal resilience of the American spirit.
“I think it’s phenomenal what they learn and how they convey it to people like myself," said Vietnam War veteran Anthony Beard, who served four years in the Army.
"It really hits you right here," he said, softly bringing his strong fist to his chest. "I stood up twice, once for the Army and once for the Air Force for my dad. He would really love this."
The Thursday assembly, "One Nation Under God," was attended by numerous active service members, veterans and family members who enjoyed a series of patriotic songs and excerpts from famous American speeches performed by LAM's pre-school through fifth-grade students.
Master of Ceremonies and fifth-grader Blake Ohmes felt privileged to have a speaking part in the program.
"What I felt was a bit of excitement," he said. "It was crazy to see how many people were there."
Fifth-grader Katelynn McRae was happy to honor her grandfather, who served for more than 30 years and attended the performance. She delivered part of Franklin D. Roosevelt's D-Day prayer.
"I really liked the shadow scene," she said. "There was the two parents to send their son out to the Army, then they get a letter that he died. That's pretty sad."
She said if she could say one thing to our veterans, it would be, "Thank you!"
LAM Christian Academy Principal Dan Makowski, who is new this year and saw the show for the first time, said this is a great opportunity for the school "to not only honor our veterans, but to instill that respect in our students."