WEST HILLS (CBSLA.com) — A group of third-graders in West Hills on Tuesday honored war veterans, law enforcement and firefighters for their heroic service and sacrifice.

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Students at Pomelo Community Charter School performed a patriotic-themed presentation, which included songs, for the vets and first-responders.

The heroes then shared their experiences and memories with the children.

“For every war event, there were several versions. There is a TV version, the movie version, the documentary, and what really happened,” said World War II veteran Steven Poletis.

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Poletis added, “I’m getting a kick out of the fact that the kids are seeing us in the flesh, so to speak.”

After 9/11, teachers decided to host the event to help their students learn about American heroes.

In the last 12 years, the get-together has grown substantially with the help of the community.

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“Twelve years ago, we had 8- and 9-year-olds telling us that their heroes were famous movie stars and professional athletes and after 12 years, we now have 8- and 9-year-olds telling us it’s the firefighters, the police officers, the soldiers and the veterans,” teacher Judy Saute said.