Students sang and veterans saluted, as the Stars and Stripes raised higher and higher on the flagpole at Council Rock High School South in Holland Monday.
This ceremony kicked off the school's annual Veterans Day program.
"If it wasn't for the folks in this room, a lot of us wouldn't be here," said Dave Sides of Holland.
Sides was a jet engine mechanic in the Air Force from 1966-1972, primarily stationed in Vietnam.
Sides and other veterans visited with social studies students to share their own experiences.
Students explain how valuable it is to hear the veterans' stories firsthand.
"They can tell stories that can't be written down in any textbook," said senior Sydney Lavelle.
The veterans also answer students' questions.
"What did you do there? Did you ever jump out of airplanes? Yes, 26 times," recounted Chet Zaborowski of Pottsville.
Zaborowski was a team medic with the US Army Special Forces Green Berets. He was stationed in Vietnam near the borders of Cambodia and Laos in the early 1970's.
"We did special clandestine missions in Cambodia and Laos. We weren't supposed- US soldiers weren't supposed to be there, but our orders were given to us by the CIA. We carried them out," explained Zaborowski.
"When you think of like a veteran, I think of somebody in a uniform standing at attention- that's what I used to think about. But I've kind of learned through this experience that like veterans are just people all around you, like in the community," said senior Brandon Gormley.
The students are learning from these veterans, but they also want to be sure to convey their appreciation.
"We can live the way we can because of everything they've been through and given up for us," explained Lavelle.
As for Zaborowski, "I am proud of my service. I am proud to serve my country, and I would do it again if I was asked."