REED CITY — There were a good many tears on Friday, Nov. 11, when dozens of veterans converged on Norman Elementary School in Reed City, to be honored for what they did for their country, and looked upon as heroes.

Several hundred children gathered on the floor of the gym, with servicemen and women sitting toward the front of the room, and still others honored who were sitting in rows and rows of bleachers.

This, likely, was the largest such event yet at Norman, well-known now for the kid’s sucker sales on Friday’s to help pay the postage for packages sent to military men and women still active around the world. Those packages are filled with decks of cards, candy, personal letters, and notes of thanks straight from the hearts of many children, and in particular those from Pam Bloom’s class.

That class enlists the entire school and their family and friends in this special outreach to continue it now and for several years in the past.

Bloom’s fourth grade class was a big part of this event as well, along with many other children who “donated” their grandpas and grandmas, great-grandparents, aunt, uncles, brothers, sisters, and neighbors and friends as their military connections.

To see the smiles, to see eyes sparkle with tears, and to see those tears trickle down tired, weathered cheeks does something to a person. Makes them proud. Makes them thankful. Just ask them. Some said, “blessed.”

Principal Tanya Harrison welcomed the crowd, and everyone joined in the singing of the Star Spangled Banner as well as the pledge to the flag.

Fourth graders entertained with bells to the tune of It’s a Grand Old Flag, and Denise Nelson’s class provided a patriotic video clip.

It was one of those special moments when a little boy tied the yellow ribbon on the American flag, in honor of his own special someone.

The reading of a list by Bloom and Nelson was a lengthy one, including 144 military men and women, many of them in the crowd. Many stood proudly as their names were called, and little children popped up claiming a grandparent or dad or uncle or other relative with a big grin and a wave.

Some were unable to be there, away on duty.

Many more tears flowed when Kim Donahue lit a candle in memory of her son, Brad Schilling, who died overseas five years ago in the war. As she did, she clung tightly to her granddaughter and her granddaughter to her.

Taps were played by fifth graders from Lia VanScoyoc’s class, then everyone joined in singing God Bless the USA.

Veterans and their families then visited together with their many friends and the children who cherished them back, enjoying refreshments, but it appeared enjoying even more that special time together.