Veteran Scotty Kilbreth of Canton attends the Veterans Day breakfast and assembly at Dirigo Elementary School in Peru on Friday morning. (Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times)

PERU — More than 50 military veterans were honored by students and staff at Dirigo Elementary School on Friday morning. Principal Charlie Swan called the men and women — most of them relatives of students — “awesome heroes.”

The tribute began with a breakfast prepared and served by culinary arts students at Region 9 School of Applied Technology in Mexico, followed by an assembly in the gym where the guests of honor were greeted by applause from students, faculty, family and friends.

Patriotism was in order as the crowd recited the Pledge of Allegiance and sang the national anthem before kindergartners sang “You’re a Grand Old Flag.”

In a video featuring four students interviewing their veteran relatives, Debra Berry, who served in the Air Force from 1977 to 1982, told her granddaughter Emma Witas that being in the military taught her “freedom is very important.”

Kaeden Swan interviewed his uncle, Joe McVay, who served in the Navy from 1956 to 1978. McVay said his travels to many countries taught him “people are pretty much the same no matter where you go.”

Lana Wait interviewed her father, Mike Waite, who served in the Army from 2001 to 2011 in southern Afghanistan and Iraq, and Stetson Thurston interviewed his great-grandfather Marlin Thurston, who served in the Army in the South Pacific during World War II.

Also honored during the assembly was Katelyn “Kit-Kat” Carlow, a graduate of Dirigo High School Class of 2018. She was presented with a certificate from the Maine Veterans Bureau and money from the school staff and Parent Teacher Organization to support her Flowers for Vets program.

Carlow and her family and friends have visited 73 cemeteries in Maine the past three years and placed close to 3,000 flowers on veterans’ graves.

During the week, retired Sgt. Maj. David Tyler of the Army brought military tents and Army equipment for children to see and touch.

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Dirigo Elementary School Principal Charlie Swan speaks to military veterans, students, families and friends during the Veterans Day celebration Friday in Peru. (Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times)

More than 50 veterans, seated at right, are honored at Dirigo Elementary School in Peru on Friday. (Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times)

Region 9 School of Applied Technology culinary arts students and their instructor,  Ryan Kimball, prepared and served breakfast for military veterans on Friday morning at Dirigo Elementary School in Peru. (Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times)

Veterans Joseph McVay, from left, David Tyler, Debra Berry, Norman Voter, Terry Belyea and Pete Bellegarde attend the Veterans Day breakfast and assembly at Dirigo Elementary School in Peru on Friday morning. (Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times)

Military veterans, from left, Fred Archer, Michael Waite, Tim Mitchell and Edwin Williams attend the Veterans Day breakfast and assembly at Dirigo Elementary School in Peru on Friday morning. (Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times)