HANOVER TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Ahead of veterans day on Friday, one Luzerne County school district is spreading respect and awareness for the federal holiday to its students.

Hanover Area Elementary students like 6th Grader Zaire Bartley took the stage relaying the meaning behind veterans day.

“Veterans Day is different from Memorial Day. Memorial Day honors those men and women who have died while serving the United States Military, while Veterans Day celebrates all the men and women who have served.”

Thursday’s program is the first-ever Veterans Day event taking place at the elementary school.

Members from multiple military branches, like Corporal Giovanni Vargas, took part in the celebration, speaking to the students about the importance of the federal holiday.

“Children these days should understand that on veterans day, they have heroes that they can definitely look up to. Especially at a young age, they don’t know what’s going on in the world, but it’s always amazing to have heroes that they can look up to.”

A wall of honor hangs in the auditorium highlighting veterans and active-duty families in the school community.

Memorial Elementary principal Christa Koter-Langdon is the brains behind the event she has a long line of family members who served in the military, including her husband.

“It is very important for us to start at such an early age to build upon the family values that are being taught at home” she says. “And to start setting that tone and setting those building blocks for them to understand all of their freedom.”

Koter-Langdon says she hopes students will walk away from the program with an appreciation for those who have served.

“Pride, self-respect, values, are my keys.”

The Hanover Area Memorial Elementary School is hoping to make the Veterans Day program an annual event.