NORWALK — Less than a decade ago, students at Marvin Elementary School celebrated Veterans Day by staying home.

But for the past six years, the school has started a new tradition that principal Sue-Ellen O'Shea said defines the Marvin community.

“Now we come to school to honor our veterans,” O’Shea said at the annual Veterans Day Assembly Friday. “It’s very appropriate, I think, that Veterans Day is held during the month of November because it’s a time when we’re thankful, and we think about the freedom we have because of our veterans.”

Students honored more than 20 local veterans with poetry, songs, facts and gifts Friday morning at the hour-long assembly. The veterans were parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and even great-grandparents of Marvin Elementary School students, faculty and staff.

O’Shea said the assembly is bigger and better every year, and this year the school went all out for its veterans, lining the front walk with dozens of flags, and putting together a slideshow of veterans who couldn’t attend the assembly.

The assembly began with a disjointed pledge of allegiance as the young students worked to distinguish right from left — two well-intentioned kindergarten students mirrored each other to make sure they were using the correct hand to cover their heart ... one was — but a well-executed rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner followed as hundreds of students sang in unison.

The students presented the veterans, who represented all military branches and more than half a century of service, with handmade stars, which O’Shea said every student played a part in creating.

Prior to the assembly, students decorated the walls with acrostic poems spelling out “veteran.”

“Veterans are nice, Everybody like you, The world supports you, Each day you are brave, Awesome work, Never give up,” one student wrote.

Norwalk Chief of School Operations Frank Costanzo attended the assembly and said the students made him proud to be a part of the district.

“To hear you sing and speak and bring your families here is so great,” Costanzo said, addressing the students. “The patriotism you have exhibited is remarkable.”

kkrasselt@hearstmediact.com; 203-842-2563; @kaitlynkrasselt