Pickett’s Mill Elementary School arranged a Missing in Action Table for One in tribute to prisoners of war and those service members missing in action. Second graders at Rocky Mount Elementary School painted “sharing rocks” for every visiting veteran, while Dowell Elementary School students painted portraits of community veterans. Bullard Elementary School live streamed the school’s Veterans Day program for military families serving overseas, and Blackwell Elementary students donated items for homeless veterans.
Schools across the Cobb County School District chose a variety of ways to honor men and women in uniform for Veterans Day. From parents, grandparents, uncles, and brothers to community members and school staff members, students paid tribute to hundreds of veterans.
Some of the veterans arrived to the schools in their military uniforms. Other veterans had long ago hung up their uniform for the last time, but they still proudly paraded through the hallways as students thanked them for their service and serenaded them with patriotic songs.
Cobb County Commission Chairman Mike Boyce, a retired U.S. Marine colonel, was among the veterans, who attended the Veterans Day ceremony at Pickett’s Mill Elementary School. U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Thomas Blackstock Jr. joined his second grade niece Delaney for the same program.
Across the county, Rocky Mount Elementary School students honored their school secretary, Bonnie Goldsmith. She is not only Rocky Mount’s Classified Employee of the Year; she is also a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel.
U.S. Navy veteran and Rocky Mount parent Dr. Fred Yarger served as the school’s guest speaker. He answered student questions about what inspired him to serve in the military and what life was like in the U.S. Navy.
In addition to Scout Pack 417 performing the posting of the colors and the Rocky Mount chorus singing the “The Star-Spangled Banner,” a slide show featured photos of Rocky Mount military family members.
One of the veterans who attended the Rocky Mount Veterans Day program was so grateful that the veteran sent the school staff a bouquet of flowers to say “thank you.”
Students at Varner Elementary School read letters of appreciation to veterans, who attended the school’s Veterans Day ceremony. One of those veterans was U.S. Air Force retired Tech. Sgt. Henry Bunn, who serves as a torch bearer for the historic Tuskegee Airmen. Bunn helps inform younger generations about the legacy of the famed pilots of World War II, who broke barriers as the first African-American military aviators to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.
More than 200 veterans and guests attended the ceremony in honor of service members at East Side Elementary School. Students lined the hallways cheering and waving American flags in a show of support and thankfulness for the service of the veterans. The East Side students saw a parade of veterans representing several generations. (Read more about East Side’s Veterans Day program here.)
Tritt Elementary School Assistant Principal Kendal Keesling helped start her school’s annual Veterans Day program in honor of her dad, who used to speak to her students about his time in the military.
As part of the Tritt Veterans Day celebration, veterans like Charles Tommasello served as guest readers. The U.S. Navy veteran read to a class of kindergarten students. He also helped the students try on his flight jacket and helmet.
“I really enjoyed the privilege of being at [Tritt Elementary School] to honor Veterans Day with the children,” Tommasello said. “We went over military traditions and life in the Navy. They seemed very interested. We had a lot of fun.”
Farrell Martin, a 23-year veteran of the U.S. Army, told his veteran story to his daughter’s class.
“It is a great opportunity to come and tell the story to the kids who may not know all about the military and a lot of the sacrifices of our comrades.”
The retired Army veteran confessed to getting a little teary-eyed during the patriotic performance by the Tritt Chorus. Martin also enjoyed meeting veterans from the other branches and those who served during the Vietnam era.
Military vehicles were parked outside Bullard Elementary School for students to explore. The Kennesaw Mountain High School JROTC presented the colors, and 180 fourth grade students presented a musical performance as a tribute to the veterans in attendance at the Bullard Veterans Day ceremony. For those service members unable to attend because duty called them overseas, they were able to watch the Bullard program, which was broadcast via a live Internet stream.
Instead of a one-day program to honor veterans, Blackwell Elementary School collected items for homeless veterans. Students are donating personal necessities including socks, gloves, sweaters, shirts, soap, toothbrushes, and toothpaste. This is the second year Blackwell has held a collection drive to help homeless veterans in the metro-Atlanta area get back on their feet.
Decorated in red, white, and blue, Dowell Elementary School welcomed veterans and their families for a program in their honor. Student-created scrolls lined the main hallway in recognition of those who served. Like East Side Elementary, students applauded the veterans as they paraded through the hallways. In the style of President George W. Bush’s hand-painted Portraits of Courage, Dowell Elementary students painted portraits of local military veterans. During the Veterans Day ceremony, the visiting service members toured the gallery of elementary-style Portraits of Courage. (For more information, go behind the scenes at Dowell Elementary School’s Veterans Day program here.)
Cobb high school students honored military heroes by marching in the Marietta Veterans Day Parade. The Cobb County School District Transportation Department joined the CCSD band and JROTC students as they made their way from Roswell Street Baptist Church through Marietta Square. The high school groups represented at the Veterans Day Parade include the following, in order of appearance:
- Hillgrove High School Navy JROTC
- Sprayberry High School Navy JROTC
- Sprayberry High School Marching Band
- Kennesaw Mountain High School Navy JROTC
- Pebblebrook High School Army JROTC
- Osborne High School Army JROTC
- Wheeler High School Marching Band
- Lassiter High School Navy JROTC
- Campbell High School Army JROTC
- South Cobb High School Marching Band