CAMERON, N.C. — The day started off with children putting their hands over their hearts as the American flag was being raised. After the flag was raised, they sang the national anthem as Soldiers stood by saluting. The excitement in the air was electrifying as the festivities were about to start.
The day was May 10, and the event was the 4th annual “Patriot Day” held at Gordon Elementary School in Cameron.
Patriot Day is a cross-curricular event celebrating the unique community, school and military partnership enjoyed by the Department of Defense Education Activity Schools on Fort Bragg.
The objective of the event was to engage the students in “real world activities” stemming from the DoDEA educational standards while celebrating the unique partnership.
It was a day full of learning activities supported entirely by volunteers from the civilian and military community.
“It’s a great way to tie in community and school,” said Diane Brown, assistant principal from Gordon Elementary School.
One of the units that participated in the event was Battery B, 1st Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.
As the children gathered around the M119A2 howitzer, their eyes got as big as quarters, and their smiles reached from ear-to-ear.
“It was a blast getting to show the kids what I do,” said Pfc. Mario Charles, an assistant gunner from Battery B.
Not only were the kids able to look through the aiming sights for the howitzer and adjust it, they were able to try on a T-10 parachute.
Staff Sgt. Joe Liddle, a section chief with Battery B, helped the children put on the chute.
“ It’s a nice change of pace from the everyday grind to be able to show these kids what we do,” said Liddle.
Local businesses assisted the school by donating various food and drink items for the presenters. Sarai Maul, a kindergarten teacher and Patriot Day committee chair person said that the community really comes through for them every year for the sake of the children.
“It’s an overwhelming day,” said Maul. “Everyone volunteers their time to come together for the kids.”
She added that some of the parents also donated their time and food for the event.
“This event is not possible without the support from the Fort Bragg community,” said Maul.