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Veterans honored by Hartselle Jr. High students

Veterans filled every seat in the bleachers at Hartselle Junior High School on Friday as guests for a student-led Veteran Day Program that has become a model for other schools throughout the state.

The veterans were greeted with a standing ovation as they entered the gym from the cafeteria and remained in the center of attention throughout an hour-long program.

The Pacesetters, an eighth grade leadership organization, posted the colors, Jack Hackett led in the “Pledge of Allegiance,” and the school band performed “The Star Spangled Banner.” Elizabeth McCutcheon welcomed veterans and their guests, the school chorus sang “American: The Spirit Lives On” and tributes to the veterans were read by two members from each class.

A special program feature was the showing of a video , “Operation Photograph,” which was put together by PE teacher, coach and veteran Shane Alexander. It depicted American’s fighting forces in action from World War I to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The veterans were also recognized in the order of the military branch under which they served. They were asked to stand and be recognized when the anthem of their branch of service was played.

A moment of silence was observed for the safety of America’s active duty military personnel and Nathan Brooks and Jainik Patel followed with the playing of taps.

Screws, a former HJHS student, has words of praise for the school’s faculty and students.

“This is without a doubt the best Veterans Day observance in Alabama,” he stated.

“The words you have displayed on the wall behind our veterans—courage, honor, duty and sacrifice—say it all. ”What strikes me most about our veterans is their courage. Every time they go into situations that are now going to end well, they go in anyway. No matter the risk, they do it for us, so we can have the freedom we enjoy every day.”

”This day is about veterans and you,’’ Screws reminded the students. “You need to remember what they did and continue to do. There is always a bad guy in the world who is trying to defeat the good guys.”

In his concluding remarks, Principal Don Pouncey asked the students to pause for a moment while pout of school on Monday to thank veterans ands activity duty military personnel for their service.

These veteran chose to serve and were willing to give their lives, if necessary, to protect us. “We have a responsibility to learn from them and show our appreciation for what they have done for us.”

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