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Cummings Elementary School third-graders Kaia Fleming, right, and Danielle Goodyear show Col. Van Wimmer Jr. the links they made to celebrate the DOD's Month of the Military Child during a ceremony Friday at Misawa Air Base, Japan. The annual celebration is meant to spotlight the role those children play in their local communities.
Cummings Elementary School third-graders Kaia Fleming, right, and Danielle Goodyear show Col. Van Wimmer Jr. the links they made to celebrate the DOD's Month of the Military Child during a ceremony Friday at Misawa Air Base, Japan. The annual celebration is meant to spotlight the role those children play in their local communities. (T.D. Flack/Stars and Stripes)
Cummings Elementary School third-graders Kaia Fleming, right, and Danielle Goodyear show Col. Van Wimmer Jr. the links they made to celebrate the DOD's Month of the Military Child during a ceremony Friday at Misawa Air Base, Japan. The annual celebration is meant to spotlight the role those children play in their local communities.
Cummings Elementary School third-graders Kaia Fleming, right, and Danielle Goodyear show Col. Van Wimmer Jr. the links they made to celebrate the DOD's Month of the Military Child during a ceremony Friday at Misawa Air Base, Japan. The annual celebration is meant to spotlight the role those children play in their local communities. (T.D. Flack/Stars and Stripes)
Messages describing what it's like to live the life of a military child -- created by Cummings Elementary School students -- were laminated and linked together to form a long chain that was displayed during a ceremony on Misawa Air Base, Japan, on Friday.
Messages describing what it's like to live the life of a military child -- created by Cummings Elementary School students -- were laminated and linked together to form a long chain that was displayed during a ceremony on Misawa Air Base, Japan, on Friday. (T.D. Flack/Stars and Stripes)
Cummings Elementary School students recite the Pledge of Allegiance on Friday morning during a ceremony to display messages they wrote about what it's like to live the life of a military child. Their messages were laminated and joined in links to form a long chain to celebrate the Defense Department's Month of the Military Child. The annual celebration is meant to spotlight the role those children play in their local communities.
Cummings Elementary School students recite the Pledge of Allegiance on Friday morning during a ceremony to display messages they wrote about what it's like to live the life of a military child. Their messages were laminated and joined in links to form a long chain to celebrate the Defense Department's Month of the Military Child. The annual celebration is meant to spotlight the role those children play in their local communities. (T.D. Flack/Stars and Stripes)

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — It’s a safe bet that this school year will be one that Cummings Elementary School students won’t soon forget.

They dealt with a late-season heat wave that baked classrooms, burst pipes that flooded portions of the school during the winter, and a massive earthquake in March that rattled their school and homes, sending many of their friends back to the United States.

And like roughly 900,000 of the 1.7 million U.S. military children worldwide, many have had to say goodbye as Mom or Dad deployed to the dangers of Iraq or Afghanistan.

But on Friday, they gathered to celebrate living life as a military child on an overseas base.

The purpose of the event was “to celebrate all of you guys,” principal Scott Sterry told them during the ceremony at the base’s Risner Circle.

“You guys are very resilient,” he said. “You never give up.”

On display were more than 200 messages from the children, laminated and joined together to form a chain that was made in April, the Department of Defense’s Month of the Military Child.

There were pictures of planes, tanks and troops in uniform. Some wrote of learning new languages, trying new foods and getting to travel.

Others wrote about the difficulties.

Being a military child overseas can be “hard at times with the loss and gain of a friend or the deployment of parents,” wrote sixth-grader Nia Wilson. “But there is a positive side to this. You get to experience different cultures.”

flackt@pstripes.osd.mil

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