Tahoma Students Honor Veterans

Tahoma Students Honor Veterans for Veterans Day 2023
Posted on 11/09/2023

Each year, Veterans Day is one of the most highly anticipated events for students, staff and families in the Tahoma School District. Students in every school honor our nation’s heroes in unique ways, from musical celebrations, receptions, assemblies and so much more. One of the most cherished Veterans Day traditions at Tahoma is Operation Veterans Remembrance, which gives students the opportunity to place U.S. flags at the headstones of fallen United States Veterans and their spouses.

Take a look at how our school communities celebrated Veterans Day 2023:

Participation Expands in 20th Year of "Operation Veterans Remembrance"

To honor those Veterans and their spouses who served our country, and in some cases paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country, each Veterans Day and Memorial Day since 2003 Tahoma School District students have placed U.S. flags at the headstones of the heroes laid to rest at Tahoma National Cemetery.

Students placing flags at Tahoma National Cemetery

This year marked the 20th anniversary of this special partnership, known as Operation Veterans Remembrance, which began as a partnership between then Tahoma Junior High School and Tahoma National Cemetery. Beginning in 2017, when Tahoma School District restructured Tahoma Junior High School into what is now Maple View Middle School, Summit Trail Middle School, and Tahoma High School, only the eighth graders at the nearby Maple View Middle School, along with ninth graders bused from the new Tahoma High School, participated in the flag-placing tradition.

While students at Summit Trail Middle School have honored Veterans Day with school events and special lessons in years past, this year, eighth graders at Summit Trail were also bused to the cemetery, expanding Operation Veterans Remembrance to include every eighth grade student in Tahoma School District who chose to participate.

And while Operation Veterans Remembrance is a momentous rite of passage for all eighth grade students along their Tahoma journey, students with relatives laid to rest in the cemetery have a unique, meaningful opportunity to connect with their family history and honor their loved ones on a more personal level.

Zachary Gitchell, Maple View Middle School

Zachary G. and his grandmother visit a loved one's grave

Maple View Middle School eighth grader, Zachary Gitchell, was honored to participate in this year’s Veterans Day tradition, particularly since his grandfather, Wayne Weatherhogg (U.S. Navy, Vietnam Veteran), was laid to rest at Tahoma National Cemetery this September. Zachary paid his respects to his grandfather alongside his grandmother.

Kampbell Conklin, Summit Trail Middle School

Kampbell and Kristin Conklin visit Linda Fletcher's gravesite

Kampbell Conklin is an eighth grade student at Summit Trail Middle School. Kampbell’s mother, Kristin, is a Tahoma staff member who has participated in Operation Veterans Remembrance in previous years. As an eighth grader this year, however, Kampbell was able to join her mother in honoring Kampbell’s grandmother (Kristin’s mother), Linda Fletcher, who is laid to rest at the cemetery. Together, the Conklins placed a flag at Fletcher’s headstone and marked the occasion with a heartwarming selfie.

Assemblies, Songs and Celebrations

At school buildings around the district, from elementary to high school, Veterans were welcomed into our buildings and greeted with thank-yous, high-fives and cheers. Tahoma High School hosted a Veterans Breakfast early in the school day, followed by two back-to-back Veterans assemblies featuring musical performances by the Tahoma High School Wind Ensemble. Check out a video of the breathtaking musical performance, under the direction of Matthew Cole, Director of Tahoma Instrumental Programs:


Some schools and classes around the district created thank you posters, wrote thank you letters, and crafted U.S. flag art projects. Many student bodies and grade levels put on musical performances with singing and dance as a way to show appreciation for our community’s military members.

Check out this photo album with many of the celebrations from the day (These photos are just a few highlights from a few schools. Please check with your child's school to see more photos from the day):

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