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Ellicott students salute Schriever Airmen

Second Lt. Stephen Bittner, 50th Contracting Squadron, interacts with Ellicott Elementary School students Oct. 7, 2014, in Ellicott, Colo. Bittner volunteered to teach students about what it means to be a veteran to assist them with their Veterans Day 2014 poster contest. (Air Force photo/Senior Airman Naomi Griego)

Second Lt. Stephen Bittner, 50th Contracting Squadron, interacts with Ellicott Elementary School students Oct. 7, 2014, in Ellicott, Colo. Bittner volunteered to teach students about what it means to be a veteran to assist them with their Veterans Day 2014 poster contest. (Air Force photo/Senior Airman Naomi Griego)

Second Lt. Stephen Bittner, 50th Contracting Squadron, teaches an Ellicott Elementary School student how to salute Oct. 7, 2014, in Ellicott, Colo. Bittner spent nearly an hour with the kindergarteners telling them about the military and what it means to be a veteran. (Air Force photo/Senior Airman Naomi Griego)

Second Lt. Stephen Bittner, 50th Contracting Squadron, teaches an Ellicott Elementary School student how to salute Oct. 7, 2014, in Ellicott, Colo. Bittner spent nearly an hour with the kindergarteners telling them about the military and what it means to be a veteran. (Air Force photo/Senior Airman Naomi Griego)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Twenty-six kindergarten students from Ellicott Elementary School listened to 2nd Lt. Stephen Bittner, 50th Contracting Squadron, explain what a veteran is to assist them with their Veterans Day 2014 poster contest Oct. 7 in Ellicott, Colorado.

Bittner volunteered his time along with nearly 10 other military members as part of a three-day effort to educate Ellicott students about military life and the title earned for serving. This was the second year the Airman and Family Readiness Center coordinated with the school to host the event.

Bittner asked the five-and-six-year-olds what they thought a veteran was. The room full of students raised their hands quickly and their responses ranged from "they fight the bad guys" to "police officers."

"Being a veteran means you served in the military," said Bittner. "Veterans are heroes."

Emmy Kelley, kindergarten teacher, said the children were excited to have someone in uniform speak to them.

"It's important to the kids especially of this community because a lot of them have family in the military," she said. "It helps them understand and appreciate what the military does."

The students learned how to salute and received a history lesson about the Vietnam War, which featured a reenactment.

"Why do people salute?" he asked.

One student said proudly, "Because their boss tells them to."

Bittner responded, "Actually it is a sign of respect."

The event was a great opportunity to educate children, said Bittner.

"It's important to show them who we are and what we do," he said. "Sometimes our image as military members is skewed because of movies and television. This was a great way for the kids to go straight to the source."

Kindergarten students through high school seniors have nearly a month to create a poster for the contest. On Veterans Day, Team Schriever members will judge the submissions. This is part of an ongoing community partnership between Team Schriever and Ellicott.   
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