Honoring our soldiers
To celebrate and honor those who have served our country, hundreds of Kings elementary school students on Tuesday participated in a variety of Veterans Day celebrations.
J.F. Burns Elementary hosted their annual Veterans Day Parade, honoring 55 veterans with a breakfast and a parade. During the parade, many students marched alongside the veterans. Others lined the halls decorated with arts and crafts they had made, waving flags and chanting “USA … USA” as the paraders passed by and greeted them with high-fives.
Since 2008 J.F. Burns has invited families who have served in the military to join the parade and commemorate our veterans. It began with just a few veterans, and has grown every year.
FULL GALLERY INSIDE
This year featured three Grand Marshals: Keith Maupin, Howard Halcomb and Arnold Halcomb. Maupin is the founder of the Yellow Ribbon Support Center and father of Matt Maupin, a name many people may recognize.
Along with four other soldiers, Matt Maupin, 20, of nearby Clermont County, was captured by insurgents in Iraq in April, 2004. His parents held out hope that he would be rescued after a video was released showing him surrounded by his captors. Four years later, in March, 2008, the Maupins learned that Matt had been killed. A memorial now stands in Matt’s honor on the shore of Lake Harsha at East Fork State Park.
A former Marine himself, Keith Maupin created the Yellow Ribbon Support Center to support the men and women who are serving and to honor those who never made it home. One of the non-profit organization’s missions is to collect items to send overseas to those in service. Over the past two weeks, J.F. Burns students have donated their Halloween candy to send in Yellow Ribbon care packages.
“We need to continually support those in service today and always remember the sacrifices they made for our country,” said Maupin.
After the parade, everyone met in the school cafeteria for coffee and snacks. The veterans also answered questions about the length of their service, inspiration for joining the military, and the impact it has had on their lives.
J.F. Burns Principal Cheryl Montag said the school hopes to show students that Veterans Day is an important holiday and should be celebrated accordingly.
“We feel it’s important to honor the vets and share patriotism with the students,” she said. “We want the students to show respect to our brave veterans which is why we decided to start this tradition.”
Soldiers Visit SLE
Meanwhile, across town at South Lebanon Elementary, students got to meet soldiers from the Wounded Warrior Project. Air Force Major Timothy O’Sullivan, Gun Sgt. Sam Deeds (both Purple Heart recipients) and Staff Sergeant Anthony Paletta came to speak with the students about their service. Paletta brought along his service dog, Aggie.
The soldiers represent The Wounded Warrior Project, an organization with a mission to help raise awareness of service members, help injured service members and provide programs that meet the needs of the injured service members.