Des Moines Students Take Time Out of Class to Honor WWII Veteran

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DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Students at a Des Moines elementary school were given a lesson in sacrifice on Friday, and taught a lesson in patriotism.

Kids at Hillis Elementary School stepped away from the classroom on Friday afternoon to line a funeral procession route that was passing the school.  Dozens of kids stood at attention, holding flags as the remains of Channing Whitaker passed by.

Whitaker was killed in 1943 during a World War II battle at the age of 18.  His remains were recently identified thanks to DNA testing.  Whitaker was laid to rest at Glendale Cemetery.  Whitaker was originally from Granger.  He enlisted in the Marines at the age of 17 and was killed one year later.

Willis Elementary principal Renee Gelfond says there are so many lessons for the kids to learn from today.

"I hope they see the respect and the honor that's behind this," Gelfond said, "Not only for the soldier, but also for the soldier's family and friends and the true meaning behind what it means to make such sacrifices for our country."

10-year-old Sophia got the message.  "If you don't show respect, then other people will just learn from that," she says "and it'll be just really bad."


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