Schools, groups lining up events for Veterans Day

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Businesses and banks across the area are closing in observanceof Veterans Day Wednesday, but local schools will remain open andhonor the nation’s warriors with morning and midday programs oftheir own.

The biggest Veterans Day program has been planned for BrookhavenAcademy, where the normal traditions of raising the colors andplaying taps for the fallen will be augmented with a renowned guestspeaker. Col. Glenn Frazier, a veteran of the Bataan Death March inWorld War II and featured source in the Ken Burns documentary “TheWar,” will begin a day full of public appearances in Brookhaven byspeaking to the academy’s students.

“It’s what a person endures for the purpose of serving theircountry,” Frazier said, previewing the speech he’s planning for BA.”I’ll also be speaking to (students) about how they should respecttheir freedom and their country. Blood has been shed for ourfreedom over the years.”

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BA Director of Student Services Teresa Reed said Wednesday’sprogram should be the biggest of the annual event ever held at theschool. She said the school has heavily advertised the visit byFrazier, who will also tour the Military Memorial Museum and signcopies of his book, “Hell’s Guest,” at the Lincoln County PublicLibrary at 3 p.m.

“I think it will be important for our kids to meet someone whowas a (prisoner of war) and understand the things he went throughand how he drew on his faith – what he did in order to overcome andget through those trials,” she said.

BA’s program begins at 10 a.m. in the gymnasium with the singingof the national anthem and prayer. The school’s fourth-, fifth- andsixth-graders will sing the official song of each branch of themilitary and young veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars fromCopiah-Lincoln Community College will present the colors. Selectedessays on Veterans Day from BA seventh-graders will be read at theprogram.

A reception and book signing by Frazier in the school librarywill follow the program. All members of the public are invited toattend.

The public is also invited to attend a Veterans Day ceremony atWest Lincoln Attendance Center. That school’s program begins at 9a.m. in the gymnasium and will follow a course similar to that ofBA, complete with flags, songs and a World War II veteran.

School librarian Janice Holmes said her school’s program willfeature guest speaker Herbert Savell, a veteran of the U.S. Navy inWorld War II. The program will also feature a patriotic tribute insong by West Lincoln’s second-graders and a solo performance of”God Bless America.”

The West Lincoln program will also feature the reading ofpatriotic poems, an annual tradition.

“The purpose of our annual Veterans Day program is to educateour students about the history of Veterans Day and make them awareof what it means to be a veteran, and to express our gratitude toall of the brave men and women who serve or have served ourcountry,” Holmes said.

The program will be followed by a reception, and the public isinvited to attend.

Across the county line in Wesson, Wesson Attendance Center willalso be honoring local veterans. That school’s program begins at7:45 a.m. with a breakfast for veterans, and the program begins at8:50 a.m.

Off-campus events will also occur throughout the area to honorVeterans Day.

In Wesson, the Wesson Garden Club will erect a Blue StarMemorial at the corner of Highway 51 and Church Street at thetown’s main intersection at 2:30 p.m.

Member Pat McCreary said the plaque is intended to honor allveterans. Several such memorials are being raised around the statewith the support of the Garden Club of Mississippi, she said.

Wednesday night in Brookhaven, the American Legion Post 12 willhold its annual Veterans Day supper at Western Sizzlin’ at 6 p.m.All veterans and prospective American Legion members are invited.The supper’s guest speaker will be District 39 Sen. CindyHyde-Smith.