PHILADELPHIA, N.Y. (WWTI) — Celebrating the symbol of American freedom, local students and members of the 10th Mountain Division honored Flag Day in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Primary students, teachers and their families gathered outside the local elementary school dressed in patriotic colors to honor the flag through speeches, songs sang by the students and a concert performed by members of the 10th Mountain Division Band.

According to Philadelphia School Principal Kevin Kelly, this is a celebration the school hosts annually to remember the history of the flag and connect the community.

Philadelphia Primary is a part of the Indian River Central School District, which has one of the largest populations of military students in the North Country.

Kelly said another goal of the annual Flag Day celebration is to spread patriotism among students.

“Patriotism is extremely important to Indian River Central School District, especially here at Philadelphia Primary,” Kelly said. “We have a smaller population but we do have military families that are here and I believe are impacted by this day. We wanna make sure we celebrate it.”

10th Mountian Division Band Member Specialist Kevin Mitchell said playing at concerts similar to this year’s Flag Day celebration is important as it connects to local military children. An experience he knows well.

“A lot of the kids around this area, because we’re so close to Fort Drum, a lot of them are military kids. And that was actually me when I was a lot younger,” Mitchell explained. “My father was in the Army Bands for the longest time. So we moved around all the time. I remember them coming and playing at concerts, just like this.”

The annual Flag Day celebration was continued throughout the Indian River Central School District as American flags were placed around the Village of Philadelphia and surrounding communities.