About 80 nervous, brightly-attired children alternately wiggled and giggled on the small grandstand set up in front of family members and friends in the Joseph Charter School gymnasium Wednesday evening. But when the Eagle Cap Post 4307 VFW Color Guard presented the flag, a hush prevailed. Then 80 young voices burst into song, beginning with The Star Spangled Banner.

The special program, titled American Essentials, featured familiar ballads and patriotic songs, including America the Beautiful, Yankee Doodle, and Battle Hymn of the Republic. It provided a post-Memorial-Day tribute to America’s warriors, history, and values. Third graders took turns to read the entire Declaration of Independence to the audience. The performance ended with a moving performance of Taps.

Joseph Charter School Music Director Michelle Homan organized the event, following a program called American Essentials developed by Teresa and Paul Jennings and John Riggio.

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