Walker Middle School and Long County High School held programs Monday to recognize both veterans and active-duty military personnel.
Walker Middle School held its annual breakfast-with-a-vet event as more than 80 active-duty and former military members joined their children for the fun, according to Principal Heath Crane.
He welcomed the group and explained why the Long County schools were open on the recognized holiday.
“We talked about it, and to most kids today is just another holiday — another day off from school — but we wanted our kids to understand and know what Veterans Day is all about,” he said.
The principal spoke about the election and the freedom that all Americans share in being able to elect their leaders.
“The reason we can vote for who we choose to and the reason we can have those heated elections is because of our veterans,” Crane said.
The principal then led the group in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. After the blessing of the food, students and their family members received free breakfast while the Long County High School marching band played patriotic tunes. U.S. Navy veteran Terry Kenny, who served in the Vietnam War, led the band in playing such songs as “America the Beautiful,” “Anchors Aweigh” and “The Liberty Bell March.”
U.S. National Guard veteran Doug Walker, who attended the breakfast with grandson Sean Archambault, was thankful for the event.
“It’s good that the school is doing this,” Walker said. “Our vets need to be honored and remembered. Where would we be if it wasn’t for them?”
Later that day, Long County High School held its annual Veterans Day observance.
The band began the ceremony, playing drums as veterans and active-duty personnel marched into the gymnasium.
After the procession, several students read biographies of famous vets that included Jose Martinez and Pat Tillman.
The keynote speaker was U.S. Navy NCC Chief Quincy L. Parker, a career counselor in Jacksonville, Fla.
Before Parker spoke, he asked all veterans to stand, then led the packed gym in giving the veterans a standing ovation. Parker told the students that he never takes his freedom for granted, adding that veterans’ core values make America a great country.
Those values include courage, commitment, loyalty, duty and honor, he said.
Parker told the students that those traits also can be found in people they come in contact with every day.
“There are heroes among each and every one of you that you see every day. They may be your parents, grandparents or your teachers,” he said.
Principal Scotty Hattaway closed the ceremony with a quote from former President Ronald Reagan: “Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they ever made a difference in the world. Men and women who serve in the military don’t have that problem.”
After a moment of silence in memory of all fallen veterans, the band played “Taps” to conclude the ceremony.