By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
On Wednesday, November 7, the students at Davis Thomas Elementary Middle School came together to honor our veterans with songs, poems, and lunch.
The celebration commenced with the reciting of The Pledge of Allegiance followed by a welcome and sincere thank you from Principal Steelie Kisamore.
The kindergarten, first, and second grade students presented their rendition of The Grand Old Flag while the third, fourth, and fifth graders sang The Star Spangled Banner. Rob Masten, band instructor, brought together the TCHS, TVEMS, and the DTEMS bands to perform The Battle Hymn of the Republic. Kisamore announced this was the first time the three band classes have performed this number in unison, as they have been practicing on their own at their respected classes prior to the event. The performance was so spectacular it received a standing ovation and gave the crowd goose bumps.
Kisamore recognized the veterans in attendance, including the residents of Cortland Acres, by branch. This Land is Your Land was then performed by the sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students who have been giving up their recess time for the last three weeks to rehearse since there is no formal choir class at DTEMS. TCHS band member Chris Chambers played Taps on his trumpet proudly sending chills down the entire audience. In conjunction with the student performances, faculty and staff recited poems and verses pertinent to the occasion.
Prior to the conclusion of the celebration, Pastor John Callaway gave the blessing on the food and thanks to those who have and are serving. The student council was responsible for serving the meal prepared by the school kitchen staff.
On Friday, November 9, the students of Tucker Valley Elementary Middle School paid tribute in a similar fashion for their Veterans Day celebration. Masten welcomed everyone and introduced the Tucker County Band, which performed Battle Hymn of the Republic. The song My Flag was performed by the three kindergarten classes with their patriotic, homemade T-shirts proudly worn. Cathy Hebb, Board of Education member and former math teacher at Tucker Valley presented a heartfelt welcome and thank you to the veterans and those in attendance, followed by Emma Snyder, Student Council President presenting a student body welcome.
Tucker County Veterans Group proudly marched forward with the Presentation of Colors, followed by Jocelyn Burnside leading the crowd in The Pledge of Allegiance. The Star Spangled Banner was performed by Cindy Goughnour on keyboard and Dennis Filler on trumpet followed by Corrinia Lipscomb giving a speech honoring our veterans.
A special appearance by The Graf-tonettes, a singing quartette from Grafton, performed a few musical selections, including The Armed Forces Song. The different branches of the military were announced as those in attendance stood when their respected sector was called. Jane Leard had the honor of introducing the WWII veterans in attendance and the TVEMS Chorus sang Amazing Grace. Everyone took part in a moment of silence as they reflected back on those who sacrificed all in their service to our great country. Filler followed by playing Taps on his trumpet as the Tucker County Veterans retired the Nation’s colors. To conclude this honorable ceremony, Angela Evans provided some closing remarks prior to an invitation for veterans and their guests to join together for lunch and reminiscing.
Before returning to class, a few students were asked what Veterans Day meant to them, and here are their responses:
Hailey Crossland, fourth grade: “Helping people and respecting the elderly and veterans.”
Emmett Felton, fourth grade: “It’s all about respect and honoring the veterans.”
Gabriella Hamey, second grade: “People that served our country and that helped us.”
Juniper Judy, second grade: “To remember the people that helped our country.”
Kaiden Hebb, seventh grade: “Honoring our veterans.”
Alisha Bennett, eighth grade: “To honor the people who sacrificed their lives to free us.”
A few veterans were also asked their opinion on the program they had just witnessed:
Don Holm, army 1983-94 stationed in Korea – “I think it was pretty good, I liked the band”.
Master Sergeant Ruth Gaither Holm – active duty army 1987 to present with army reserves, deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in the Petroleum Unit – “Oh, it was really good! The band was awesome! This school is extremely supportive of the military.” Holm has been coming to the Veterans Day program at DTEMS for several years and expressed it never disappoints.
Charles Showalter, army 1970 and 1972 with four years in the reserves, Vietnam veteran – “I think it was beautiful, I love those kids and what they do. I appreciate the school system for encouraging what they do.”
Philip Oaster, army 1963-1965 army Vietnam veteran – “It was very nice, this is my second time attending and I think the band did a great job.”