PROSPERITY —Mid-Carolina Middle School welcomed its largest crowd of veterans ever to its annual Veterans Day program Monday, with close to 70 veterans.
Veterans were invited by students to have breakfast in the morning and to attend an hour long ceremony honoring the veterans for their service.
World War II Veteran Bill Andrews is a retired Staff Sgt. in the U.S. Army who came by invitation from his two twin grandsons, Matt and Will Murray.
This is Andrews’ first visit to the middle school for a veterans program. The World War II veteran came with his wife who taught school at Whitmire. “She was very brave,” said Andrews.
The couple currently lives in Whitmire and Andrews was born and raised in Whitmire.
Andrews said he joined the military because he received an invitation from the president referencing the draft. He retired in 1991.
The program was a nice gesture for Andrews as he said, “It means someone’s thinking about what we did. We wanted to turn the Jewish loose,” explaining their intentions.
Andrews doesn’t talk too much about the war because of the devastation but he’ll talk to his grandsons if they ask.
National Guard Sgt. James Hazel came courtesy of his cousin, Madison Abrams. Hazel has been twice to Iraq and is a part of the 1055th transportation company.
“I just want to serve our country and protect the families,” said Hazel about joining the military. “I also had family members serve in the past and I wanted to serve the country. I love the Army.”
As for the middle school’s honor to the veterans, “It shows me that (they) respect us and it shows they love us.”
After breakfast, a few of the students raised the flags as they normally do each morning and the veterans were ushered into the gym for the ceremony.
The following students read poems they had written to honor the veterans: Rebekah Dominick, Charlotte Delk, Zacharian Byrd, Shaq Nelson, Noah Hydrick, Jaudith Smith, Lylah Brooks and Jordan Cary.
Mid-Carolina Middle teacher and retired U.S. Marine Robert Flint spoke to students and veterans about military history and explained his uniform.
He also explained how there is a mission for the military and asked the students what their mission is.
“Students, I’m going to ask you why are you here today?” Flint said. “Are you here to honor the veterans? In a way, they are here to honor you. When they enlisted, they went on a mission and they had to achieve. What I want to present to you today is, ‘Do you have a mission?’”
The students also honored Flint with a special presentation recognizing his service to teaching and to the military.