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200th Anniversary of "The Star Spangled Banner" Celebrated at Wakarusa Elementary

by Amy Wenger on September 16, 2014

     Monday morning may have arrived on a dismal and dreary note, but for anyone who was inside the Wakarusa Elementary School gymnasium, the day proved to be anything but.  In a sea of red, white, and blue apparel, jewelry, hair accessories, and other patriotic adornments, the children in grades kindergarten through five raised their voices in triumphant celebration for the 200th anniversary of "The Star Spangled Banner."

     Written by Francis Scott Key in 1814, the song has served as a hallmark of patriotism since being declared this country's national anthem in 1931.  Wakarusa Elementary has observed this occasion as an annual remembrance for the past several years, where the children and their teachers commemorate the day with Americana themed tunes, guest speakers, and a special tribute to those who have bravely and selflessly given of themselves in the nation's armed forces and other avenues of service to the public.

Photos all courtesy of Amy Wenger.

First grader Elise Mestach, far left, spots her mother, Jane, in the audience and gives her a wave before the festivities get underway during Wakarusa Elementary's annual "National Anthem Day" observance, held on Monday.


Vocal music teacher Shawn Skaggs, far right, sings a solo alongside her 4th and 5th grade students.


Members of the armed forces and those who represent the police, fire, and emergency sectors of public service were invited to the center of the gymnasium to stand around the flag, as the choirs sang in honor of their endeavors.  As they did so, the men were greeted to a long and thunderous round of applause.


Wakarusa resident Steve Hunsberger talks about the significance of this day for his family.  Hunsberger and his wife, Ronda, lost their son, Army SSgt. Travis Hunsberger, who died in action in Afghanistan in June of 2008.  A sketch of Travis can be seen at right; he was a student at Wakarusa Elementary in the 1990s.


Vocal music teacher Shawn Skaggs leads the 4th and 5th grade students in a rousing chorus of "Fifty Nifty United States."


Christine Ramer's 1st grade students get fired up during a group chant of "USA!  USA!" at the close of the program.



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