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Kendallvue Elementary celebrates veterans during school ceremony

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By Deborah Swearingen

As the U.S. Navy’s official song reverberated through the gymnasium at Kendallvue Elementary School, Joey Groneman held onto the hand of her father, William Flint, who served in the Navy many years ago.

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Groneman celebrated her father’s service as he watched intently from his wheelchair.

“We couldn’t miss it,” Groneman said of the Veterans Day ceremony hosted by her daughter’s elementary school last Friday.

And patriotic it was. There was music, red, white and blue decorations and American flags galore. Younger students raised the flags in the air frequently as fifth-grade students sang a number of patriotic ballads alongside the Beverly Belles. The musical trio was inspired by the Andrews sisters, an American singing group that reached the height of their popularity around World War II.

In between the various musical performances, Kendallvue fifth-graders read information about the history of Veterans Day and military traditions in the United States.

“Music has always played an important role during wartime,” one student read.

Thus, the joint musical performance was particularly relevant. The Belles dressed in period attire and sang classic songs such as “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” as well as a few personalized renditions of modern tunes like “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen and “Umbrella” by Rihanna and Jay-Z.

In addition to their patriotic performances, the Belles offer holiday shows, modern-retro performances and more. They perform in Denver, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and sometimes even on cruises.

“We are very busy,” Lexi Van De Walker said, smiling.

The Belles — who go by “Ginger,” “Rosie,” and “Millie” when performing — said they thoroughly enjoyed looking out and seeing all of the kids waving their flags, dancing and having a good time.

Fifth-grader Abby Jacobson was one of those. She sang along enthusiastically, particularly when the Belles sang some of the more recent hits. Although she was disappointed that none of her veteran family members could make it, Abby still thought the event was “really cool.”

The ceremony was coordinated by music teacher Karen Dorr, who saw the Beverly Belles perform elsewhere and knew she wanted to bring the group to Kendallvue.

“I wanted a little more excitement,” she said, touching on the somber nature of many Veterans Day events.

Mostly, the event was lively and fun — just as Dorr hoped. There was one touching moment, however, as Kendallvue students turned around to face the veterans, most of whom gathered at the back of the room. With flags raised high, they sang “God Bless America” to veterans from all branches.