More than 100 local second graders take special field trip ahead of Memorial Day

Posted at 8:53 PM, May 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-25 20:53:11-04

More than 100 students from Highview Elementary School in Dearborn Heights got a special lesson outside of the classroom on Friday.

They took a field trip to Detroit Memorial Park West Cemetery in Redford Township
where hundreds of veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice have been laid to rest.

They placed flags at the gravesites. It's a tradition that started 30 years ago.

"I've been principal 7 years," said Alice Reinke, principal of Highview Elementary. "So I've been coming to this for seven years. I  didn't understand what this field trip was about at first.

"It takes your breath away to see all these flags when the students are finished," she added.

It was all started by a former teacher, Rebecca South, who three decades ago, took her students to the cemetery for Memorial Day. Even though she retired 20 years ago and has since moved to Kansas, she comes back for the field trip every single year.

"It's so very special to know it's still going on," South said.

Her husband, Richard, served in the Korean War.

Their son Cameron said, "I think that's where it initially started... honoring veterans... was with my dad. We lost him a few years ago. My mom enjoys this almost in a way of honoring him as well."

Students, along with the parents who chaperone the field trip, say they are grateful for this experience.
It's one that South is still so proud to see.

"The people that have sacrificed for our country... they know about it now. When they come here, they talk about it in school. It's a wonderful thing to do," South said.

The cemetery provided 500 of the American flags. The students brought another 600 thanks to donations from the PTA, Home Depot and teachers who got a grant to help pay for more