The Spanish Fork Legion Post 68 organized the third annual Freedom Walk for Spanish Fork and Salem fifth-grade students on May 7 & 8, 2019. Members from various branches of the military came and told stories to almost 1,200 fifth-grade students from 13 schools over the past two days.
Steve Wilson, past Commander of the American Legion 68, stated, “Veterans feel there is a critical need to embolden and educate our young people on Americanism. We need to instill a love of country. It is amazing the opportunities we enjoy as Americans with all the turmoil and the civil discourse that goes on. Sometimes, we can lose track of the blessings that we are afforded by living in the United States of America. We, the Legion, feel that if we can develop a respect for America in our young elementary age children, it will plant a seed that will stay with these kids for the rest of their lives.”
Nebo fifth-grade students prepared in advance of the Freedom Walk by researching veterans and writing summaries of what they learned. Banners from each of the schools lined the walking path displaying the students’ summaries and creating a Wall of Honor. Many of these summaries were the students’ own family members.
Principal Garrett Andersen said, “Sometimes fifth-graders don’t recognize the freedoms they have and the sacrifices that were made for freedom in this country. This experience, The Freedom Walk, allows these students to associate with fine veterans in our own area that have sacrificed for all of us to live in a free country.”
All students and teachers walked symbolically in the shoes of the veteran they interviewed or researched. Along the walk were six stations where Legion members would present, show items, and tell stories from their service.
Many students designed a logo and submitted a theme for the Freedom Walk activity. One was selected and chosen by the Legion to represent 2019. This year’s theme is: “We don’t know them. But, we owe them. I’m proud to be an American.”
The Freedom Walk was first conceived by Legion member, Richard Johnson, as a way to help students have a better understanding and appreciation for military veterans. This “walk” is unlike any other event organized by the Legion according to the veterans.
Congratulations to Holly Moss for answering this week’s “Where are we Wednesday?” challenge sponsored by Wiggy Wash.
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