DAILY LEADER / RACHEL EIDE / World War II veteran Clell King (above left) chats with Mississippi State Treasurer Lynn Fitch (right) after the Brookhaven Academy Veterans Day program Monday morning as other local World War II veterans gather around. Fitch was the keynote speaker for the BA event.
DAILY LEADER / RACHEL EIDE / World War II veteran Clell King (above left) chats with Mississippi State Treasurer Lynn Fitch (right) after the Brookhaven Academy Veterans Day program Monday morning as other local World War II veterans gather around. Fitch was the keynote speaker for the BA event.

Schools honor veterans with programs

Published 11:33am Tuesday, November 12, 2013

“You are our heroes,” Mississippi State Treasurer Lynn Fitch told local veterans gathered for Brookhaven Academy’s annual Veterans Day program Monday morning.”

Fitch was one of three speakers who keynoted Veterans Day events at area schools Monday morning. In addition to BA, events also were held at Enterprise Attendance Center and West Lincoln Attendance Center.

Brookhaven Academy

“The cost of freedom is high; the cost of freedom is extremely high,” Fitch told the BA group. “It takes a special heart, a special soul to provide that service.”

DAILY LEADER / RACHEL EIDE / Mississippi State Treasurer Lynn Fitch (right) talks with (from left) Korean War veteran Billy Hughes, commander of Post 2618 VFW, and his wife, Joyce Hughes, prior to the Brookhaven Academy Veterans Day program.
DAILY LEADER / RACHEL EIDE / State Treasurer Lynn Fitch (right) talks with (from left) Korean War veteran Billy Hughes, commander of Post 2618 VFW, and his wife, Joyce Hughes, prior to the BA program.

Fitch, whose father served in the Navy during the Korean War, said she remembers hearing stories from her dad about his service growing up. But she said she wished she had talked and listened more. “It would behoove all of us to talk to family members and friends” about their service, she said.

Noting that Mississippi has been instrumental in sending men and women to the armed services throughout the state’s history, Fitch said, “There’s a common bond … You all took the oath for us.”

Continuing, she pointed out the state’s many military facilities and military-related manufacturers as further examples of the state’s commitment to the nation’s defense effort.

She also cited the role of military families. “There’s one group we sometimes don’t say thank you to as well – our military families.”

Rep. Becky Currie of Brookhaven, who invited Fitch to speak at Monday’s event, also spoke during the program.

“We will continue in state government … we will do everything we can to support you,” Currie told the veterans.

Monday’s program also included excerpts from Daughters of the American Revolution essays by BA students, Samantha Barton, Jordan Lea, Garrett Smith and Lindsey Windborne, and remarks on “what patriotism means to me” by BA seventh graders Keegan Smith, Tanner Thurman, Cassie White and Coker White.

DAILY LEADER / RACHEL EIDE / Brookhaven Academy first through sixth graders sing a medley of the armed forces anthems during Monday's Veterans Day program at BA.
DAILY LEADER / RACHEL EIDE / Brookhaven Academy first through sixth graders sing a medley of the armed forces anthems during Monday’s Veterans Day program at BA.

Elementary school students in grades one through six sang a medley of the songs for the various branches of the military service while the veterans from each branch were asked to stand.

Members of the Patriot Guard Riders presented the colors at the beginning and close of the program.

The common thread through the program was expressing appreciation to local veterans, who had the seats of honor on the floor of the BA gymnasium Monday morning while students, faculty and staff and guests crowded into the bleacher seats on either side of the gym floor.

Fitch summed it up when she told the veterans, “Thank you for changing the lives of all of us.”

A reception for the veterans and guests followed the program.

 Enterprise

Major Rollin Roberts, executive officer with the 106th Battalion, provided keynote remarks for Enterprise’s Veterans Day event.

DAILY LEADER / MARTY ALBRIGHT / Enterprise Veterans Day speaker Major Rollin Roberts is shown with his wife, Marcella Roberts.
DAILY LEADER / MARTY ALBRIGHT / Enterprise Veterans Day speaker Major Rollin Roberts is shown with his wife, Marcella Roberts.

Roberts spoke about the veterans who have served from the past to the present. He said it was important to convey to young people the wealth of knowledge that veterans have that is not mentioned in history books.

As a current member of the armed forces, Roberts pointed out that servicemen and women did not sign up to fight for politics but to fight for our country and people like those in the audience and their loved ones.

Other highlights of the program included the presentation of the flags by members of the Mississippi National Guard, special salutes to the veterans from Enterprise students Kennedy Hutson, Kristen McCoy, Ahna Thomasee and Austin Coleman, and a musical salute to the veterans by Enterprise fourth through eighth graders.

Other special music, including the National Anthem, was presented by the Studio Singers.

DAILY LEADER / MARTY ALBRIGHT / Members of the Mississippi Army National Guard present the colors at the Enterprise program.
DAILY LEADER / MARTY ALBRIGHT / Members of the Mississippi Army National Guard present the colors at the Enterprise program.

A buffet breakfast for the veterans was served prior to the program.

West Lincoln

Col. Amos Philip Parker of Summit spoke to the crowd at West Lincoln Attendance Center Monday about the meaning of Veterans Day, and was accompanied by close to 25 other vets in the Jack Case gymnasium.

In a speech exuding the sacrifice of the crowd on hand, Parker linked veterans together by shared characteristics: “Veterans are ordinary citizens that are called upon to give extraordinary service,” Parker said.

DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Students at West Lincoln Attendance Center, Austin Patt (from left), Jonah King and Geraod McGee participate in honoring local veterans at the school's Veterans Day program Monday morning.
DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Students at West Lincoln Attendance Center, Austin Patt (from left), Jonah King and Geraod McGee participate in honoring local veterans at the school’s Veterans Day program Monday morning.

“They share a common set of values of honesty, integrity, courage and hard work to name a few.”

The school children, dressed in red, white and blue, sang patriotic songs to the veterans.

All branches of the services were represented, and just about every age group participated in the ceremony.

A complimentary breakfast was served after the program.

Daily Leader news staff members Justin Vicory and Marty Albright contributed to this story.