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Fourth-Grade Students Honor Veterans with Quilt

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Photo Credit: Pioneer Press on Chicago Tribune

Story originally published by The Pioneer Press on The Chicago Tribune.

Students at Elmwood Elementary, a Chicago suburb school, held a special ceremony honoring veterans that have served our country. Additionally, the fourth-grade class celebrated its ninth year of making quilts.

Each year, the class picks a different theme for their next project. In the past they have done various holidays and an ode to the Civil War, but this year, they wanted to do something a little more special. With that came the idea to make a Quilt of Honor, one that would salute all who have fought in war.

After a month of researching the students’ own family history, many learned their ancestors served in the military at some point in their life. Nathan Brown, the class president, found out his great-grandfather fought in Korea.

"Veterans serve as an inspiration for younger generations," he told The Pioneer Press. "When we read the heroic stories of our nation’s veterans we have a hard time comprehending their sacrifice and dedication, but it makes us want to become better citizens when we grow up."

The teacher of the class, Jamie Kanas, enlisted the help of her mother-in-law, Bernadette, to aide in the making of the quilt. After the students had written messages on the squares, she sewed them together to make the quilt top. One of those messages read, "We appreciate the very brave things you did for our country."

The students donated the quilt to the school custodian, Charles “Chuck” Cusumano, who spent time serving in Vietnam. Though he was unable to make the ceremony, the students still paid their tributes to the man they’ve all come to love.

The unit continues to be popular in the school not just with students, but with their parents too.

"I think it’s an amazing program," Lisa Vitacco, the mother of one of the fourth-graders, said. "I think it’s so good for them to be appreciative and grateful of things other people have done for their country."