CLEARFIELD -- During the 11th hour of the 11th day of November, students at North Davis Junior High School honored local veterans.
Student government officers and cheerleaders had the rare opportunity on Friday to hear of real-life sacrifices that form the core of what Veterans Day is all about.
Six employees at North Davis Junior High who served in the armed forces, along with an active-duty airman from Hill Air Force Base, were surrounded by students asking questions about their experiences.
"I'm hoping to learn more about them and learn about what it is like for their families," said Karly Gibson, the eighth-grade PTSA secretary, prior to Friday's event.
She sat down with her history teacher, Dan Polad, who served in the Vietnam War. She and her fellow government officers were surprised to learn he had been a hospital corpsman.
As a history teacher at the school, Polad was hoping the students would not only learn about what veterans have experienced, but also learn to appreciate their country a little more.
"Of course the students don't appreciate the country yet because it isn't one of their main concerns, but when they get older, they will be more knowledgeable and educated about the world," said Polad.
At North Davis Junior High, more than 100 students have family members who are veterans or active in the military, according to Stephanie Shelley, the PTSA president who helped organize the event.
With so many students impacted by military life, the PTSA wanted to help them understand their situations.
"It opens their eyes and makes them really understand because teenagers now don't truly understand veterans," said Shelley.
When the PTSA approached Principal Ryan Hansen with the idea last year, he and the school administration were immediately on board.
"When students know we appreciate what their parents are going through, they are more likely to respond in school," said Hansen. "We would not have the opportunity to do what we do if not for them."
In fact, Shelley pointed out to the girls in the group that they are lucky to be getting an education.
"Many girls overseas are not entitled to anything, but here you can have anything you desire," said Shelley.
She encouraged the kids to learn as much as they could from the veterans so they could pass their understanding of what freedom means to their children.
McKenzie Jackson, serving as the seventh-grade representative, knows exactly what it means to live a military life. Her dad is a Korean War veteran and her family lived in Alaska while he was stationed there before transferring to Hill, so she especially enjoyed visiting with the airman.
"I've learned a lot from him, especially on this day to honor people that risk their lives for us so we don't have to," said Jackson.
Staff Sergeant James Adams, the active-duty airman, enjoyed visiting with the students and sharing with them some of the things he does.
"Some kids might think we're just a bang-bang, shoot 'em up operation, but there is more that we do, such as relief efforts in disasters, humanitarian aid and even just talking to the people in the streets where we are deployed so they can see we are trying to help and not there to hurt them," said Adams.
Topping off the event were the 10 flags lining the school parking lot visible from the library where the luncheon was held.