In 1944, at the age of 17, Nick Naples enlisted in the U.S. Navy along with his twin brother. As a seaman aboard the USS Bon Homme Richard, Naples supported airstrikes and other navy operations with the Pacific fleet off the Japanese coast until the Japanese surrendered in September 1945.
Naples served in the dangerous role of an ammunition loader for one of the ships many 40 mm gun turrets.
This week, he is one of the veterans that Davis Elementary School was able to honor on Veterans Day.
The WWII veteran joined his grandchildren for the annual ceremony just as he has for five years. This year, the school presented him with a special military challenge coin to thank him for his service.
Naples was one of 85 veterans who visited Davis Elementary for Veterans Day. The cafeteria filled with veterans included men and women with hundreds of years of combined service. A few served for 30 years and a couple more for 25 years.
All the veterans listened as the Davis Chorus sang, “What can you say to a hero…we can say thank you…we owe so much to you…we give our thanks to you. You are our heroes…”
Like Davis, schools across the Cobb County School District held Veterans Day tributes and the veterans walked in parades around the school halls, as staff members and students waved flags and signs. Their smiles were wide while they walked with their children and grandchildren through the schools.
For the Smyrna Elementary School tribute, the school invited the Smyrna Fire Department to welcome veterans with flags flying above the crowd from the ladder of a firetruck. Some of the other schools that held Veterans Day events included East Side Elementary School, Mt. Bethel Elementary School, Norton Park Elementary School, Rocky Mount Elementary School, Varner Elementary School, Birney Elementary School, and more.
Watch as the students from Varner Elementary School honor those who have served: