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Saluting Those Who Protect

Local schools and others appear for "We Salute You" at Sterling Chick-fil-A.

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Outside the restaurant’s windows, the Dominion High School Drum Line plays a booming set.

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From left, Anne Hoover, Morgan Parr and David Woodward, of Sterling Fire and Rescue, are among those honored at Thursday’s event.

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Four-year-old Sterling resident Jonathan McElorey is transformed by face painter Arla Albers.

Dominion and Herndon high schools, as well as Sterling’s Christ the Redeemer Church, came to the Chick-fil-A in Sugarland Crossing Shopping Center Thursday evening to honor those who put themselves in harm’s way to protect the citizenry — soldiers, police and firefighters. "I thought it would be really good to honor our local heroes for the holidays," said the eatery’s marketing director, Lainyi Kniffin, who organized the event.

A face painter, a balloon artist and the Chick-fil-A Cow were also on hand, as was Operation Kindness, which provided supplies for making cards for troops overseas. Dunkin’ Donuts provided gift baskets to be raffled off. By the time the Herndon High School Jazz Band started playing, the crowd, including several military and fire department personnel, nearly filled the restaurant.

— Mike DiCicco