AUBURN — Three kindergarten classes were assembled in one Park Avenue School classroom Wednesday morning, the children engrossed in a video.

Dramatic rock ‘n’ roll music played with images of jets and helicopters taking off and landing on a Navy aircraft carrier at sea.

Auburn Assistant Superintendent Keith Laser told the students he was visiting because he’s a veteran.

He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland and was in the Navy for 20 years as a helicopter pilot and commander on an aircraft carrier. He gave students a virtual tour of the carrier.

An aircraft carrier “is a big ship, as big as your school,” Laser said. The ship carries 70 airplanes. “There are 5,000 men and women on this ship,” he said. “We have a post office. We have doctors, dentists, a store. It’s like a big, moving city.”

He showed another video of aircraft landing.

“See all these gauges? That’s why you have to go to school, to learn what all these mean,” he said.

The video, shot from the cockpit, showed how the carrier at sea seemed to grow bigger as the plane approached.

“Here he comes,” Laser said. “He’s getting closer. He’s going really fast. That deck is not very big. Do you think he’s going make it?”

Youngsters watched the pilot land. Little boys pretended to steer jets.

When Laser had students’ full attention, his talk shifted to Veterans Day.

Men and women on the aircraft carrier “are gone from their families for a long time,” he said. “They leave in the summer and don’t come home until after Christmas. Some guys in the Army go away for a whole year. My son is a Marine; he was gone for a year to Iraq. He came back, and went again for a whole year.”

People in the military make a lot of sacrifices, “and some of them don’t come home,” Laser said. “It’s a very dangerous job.”

He told students that a veteran is someone who served in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force or Coast Guard. “On Friday, the country honors all those people. We stop and say, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you for your service.’”

Veterans Day, Nov. 11, was originally Armistice Day, which commemorated the end of World War I in 1918.

“On the 11th day of the 11th month, at the 11th hour, an agreement was signed to stop the war,” he said.

Laser told students at 11 a.m. Friday to pause and think about what veterans have done for their country.

Teacher Amy Heimerl said Laser served his country and is now serving Auburn as the assistant superintendent. She asked her students, “What do we say to him?”

They answered in unison, “Thank you for your service.”

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