Long County High School had its annual Veteran’s Day observance Monday to honor men and women who have served in the armed forces.
About 60 veterans attended and received a standing ovation as they entered the packed gym. Assistant Principal Michael Taylor, a veteran, welcomed all. The Blue Tide band and chorus performed the national anthem.
Teacher Ricardo Toledo, another vet, discussed the history of Veteran’s Day and recited “It is the Veteran,” an anonymous poem that emphasizes veterans’ roles in protecting freedoms.
“It is the veteran who salutes the flag, it is the veteran who serves under the flag, to be buried by the flag, so the protester can burn the flag,” Toledo read.
Students Sanquez Fair, Sarai Castillio, Mandolin Page and Karena Espey read biographies of veterans who have affected their lives. The vets honored were Leroy Lott, Gene Nevil, Buddy Carter and Terry Perry.
Lott, a pastor, is a retired Army chief warrant officer 4 with more than 39 years of service. Nevil entered the Navy in 1989 and is an instructor at a federal prison. Carter served in the National Guard and Army with a tour during Desert Storm. Perry served in the Marine Corps and Army, and is a deputy with the Long County Sheriff’s Office.
Following the presentations, band director and veteran Terry Kenny asked students who had parents serving in the military to raise their hands. He thanked all the families for their sacrifices. Kenny then led a moment of silence in memory of fallen service men and women, as band member Paul Williams played “Taps” on his trumpet.
Principal Scotty Hattaway closed the ceremony by thanking all vets and participating students.
Vietnam vet and retired Air Force member Dave Gibson said his grandchildren, Justin Edinfield and Carla Mansfield, invited him to the ceremony.
“It was an excellent program,” Gibson said. “Having events like this and by the kids seeing the vets who have served, it shows them that the military is made up of a cross-section of America, just like their school is a cross-section — all ethnicities, ages, sexes and races.”
Steven Joppich, who has been in the Army for three years and is stationed on Fort Stewart, said his landlord’s daughter, Harley Friel, invited him.
“This is great. My high school never did anything like this, and I wish that they would have … Seeing these kids show all of this support is really refreshing,” Joppich said.
Guests received corsages and notes of gratitude from students at the school.