As Americans, we have set aside November 11, Veteran’s Day, to reflect, remember, and honor those who served in the United States Armed Forces. There are nearly 25 million military veterans living among us today.
On November 5, Swiss Memorial Elementary School honored local veterans by teaching younger generations about their sacrifices on our behalf with a Veteran’s Appreciation Program coordinated by Kimberly McBee, Renee Grooms, Clayta Cleek, Patsy Keener, Charline Birdwell, and Sandi Kilgore.
Patriotic student artwork and essays covered the walls throughout the hallways at the school. A slide show displayed 150 Grundy County veterans’ photos and information detailing when and where they served.
Pastor Jeremy Robinson began the program with an invocation.
SMES assistant principal Carol Parson welcomed the assembly. The veterans in attendance received a standing ovation and were treated to a performance of “The National Anthem,” by Teresa Shrum, a teacher at SMES.
Jessica Oglesby’s Pre-K sang “Veterans Day,” Teresa Shrum’s Kindergarten sang “God Bless America,” Crystal Sanders’s Kindergarten marched and sang “Yankee Doodle,” Angela Fults’ and Kimberly McBee’s first grades created a moving mosaic of the Stars and Stripes, seventh grader Brayden McBee read “A Defense of the Constitution of the United States of America” a poem by John Adams. And, seventh grader Kenan Higgins read the poem “High Flight” by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
Fifth grader Abbi Anderson read her winning personal narrative essay “My Heroes,” sixth graders Briley Dempsey, Alissa Dodson, and Jaycie Grooms read a self-written tribute to veterans, and Korbin Hornbuckle, granddaughter of deceased local Veteran Carl Hornbuckle, led the Pledge of Allegiance.
The guest speaker was Ray Winton, President of the Grundy County Veterans Historical Society.
Veterans in attendance included Ronald L. Coffelt, James H. McBee, Chris Grooms, Michael Zdanowski, Ernest McIntosh, Jack Summers, Ray Winton, Harold Collins, Charles W. Wise, Charlie Case, Ronnie Milligan, Billy Caldwell, Carl E. Nunley, Robert Turner, Tom Meeks, Gary Light, James H. Allison, Ray Stephens, Chris Al Reyes, Don Michel, Billy M. Davis, Ron Kilgore, Bill Ford, Joe Pryor, Roger Ridge, Doug Powers, Mike Wilson, Kenneth Trussell, James Brown, Billy Middlebrook, and Devin Kilgore.
The Sequatchie Valley Honor Guard (SVHG) performed an outstanding ceremony to close the program.
Following the program, veterans were treated to a delicious meal catered by Fat Chunk’s and Dave’s of Gruetli-Laager and a sheetcake and cupcakes from The Cake Lady of Gruetli-Laager.
Chasity Coffelt Harris, Rusty’s Barber Shop, Dunlap Walmart, Southern Oven, Trader’s Market, and L and L Mart provided door prizes.