Sadie Rezac, an alumna of the St. James school system and a sergeant first class in the United States Army, provided the keynote address at Northside Elementary School's first Veterans Day Service. “As a veteran, today holds a special place in my heart, and the most gratifying thing I've ever received is a simple thank you,” she said. “No award could ever replace those two words.” Rezac, who was Sadie Brehmer before recently getting married, spent nine months in Kuwait as a security guard, and--prior to that--16 months in “hot and sandy Iraq.” This was the first year the elementary school conducted a Veterans Day ceremony, and the idea came out of Connie Hesse's passion for the military. Hesse, a math instructional coach at the school, lost a first cousin in Vietnam, and she has two sons currently serving in the military. Bradley Hesse is a civil affairs officer in the U.S. Army, and Justin Hesse is part of the military police in the Minnesota National Guard. “I have a strong passion for our veterans, past and present, and I feel our kids need to understand and be taught about their sacrifice,” she said. “Freedom is something we take for granted; you could go to whatever church you wanted to (Sunday), and you have freedom of speech--the vets are responsible for all that.” During the service, the fifth grade class helped Hesse present “H is for Honor: A Military Family Alphabet.” Each student held a letter of the alphabet, and Hesse explained how each letter related to military service. For example, “N” stands for Navy, “Q” stands for quarters, “S” stands for sacrifice, and “T” stands for teamwork, Hesse said. For the rest of the story, please see Thursday's print edition of the St. James Plaindealer.