SPOKANE, Wash. — A group of children from the Northeast Youth Center took time to truly honor the Memorial Day holiday on Friday.
The kids visited the Fairmount Memorial Park Cemetery to pay respects to the men and women who lost their lives serving their country. At the cemetery they left flags and coins at every veteran's grave.
Coins left on headstones have different meanings. A penny symbolizes someone visited and paid respects. Then, a nickel shows someone and the deceased soldier trained together at boot camp and a dime symbolizes someone and the deceased served together. Then, a quarter shows someone was there when the soldier passed away.
Executive Director of Northeast Youth Center Kate Green said it was an honor to be there.
"It's breathtaking to see the cemetery look the way it does with the flags placed," Green said. "It's humbling. It really makes you think 'wow, so many people lost their lives for my freedom'."
Green said this annual field trip began four years ago and was started as a way to celebrate the true meaning of the holiday. She said while eating hot dogs and enjoying a long weekend is fun, they wanted to find a way to celebrate in a more meaningful way and to have the kids participate as well.
"It's great knowing that the feeling the kids have when they visit will be engrained in them, and they'll be able to carry on the tradition as they get older," Green said.
During the event the group of ten preschoolers were quiet, observant and really taking it in. They were curious and asked questions when they left, but overall they said they were grateful for the soldiers and their freedom.
The Northeast Youth Center is a non-profit organization that is affiliated with the Spokane Parks and Recreation Department. They offer educational and recreational programs for children ages two to 12.