ELKTON — Faces lit up brightly while others shed tears of joy as students ages kindergarten through third grade presented handmade thank-you cards to veterans at the Veterans Day celebration at Elkton High School on Thursday.
These veterans were among 22 who sat center stage at the 20th annual Veteran’s Day Assembly held in the school’s gymnasium, where about 250 Elkton Charter School students and 120 community members attended.
“It’s important that these students are here to see what these veterans have done and what they’re all about, kids need to see the history and be a part of it,” said Superintendent Andy Boe. “This event also showcases the talent in our community.”
Veterans from all over the county come to this celebration because of the hour-long fast-paced program filled with choirs, bands, essay readers and small musical groups who were made up of students and community adults.
The oldest veteran there was Arnold Ebert, 97, who served in the Army during World War II and took part in D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge. He came from Roseburg for the entertainment and said, “It’s a beautiful celebration.”
Several years back Ebert attended the assembly and said, “I got my diploma from here.”
Every year the school presents honorary diplomas to veterans who were honorably discharged from the military and had not previously received a diploma.
The 2017 Elkton High School honorary diploma recipient was veteran Michael Alan Wampler from Scottsburg, who said, “This event lets the kids realize all the men who have served through the years and what service they did.”
Besides enjoying the entertainment filled with military songs and patriotic tunes, some veterans came to share war stories, like Royce Nobles, 87, of Roseburg.
“I served in Korea in the Navy and didn’t get a scratch,” Nobles said, but after coming home, he lost part of his leg while riding a motorcycle and getting hit by a drunk driver.
High school students who lingered on after the program to chat with the veterans also enjoyed the event.
“I’m so proud of the whole community of Elkton for coming together and celebrating our veterans,” said eighth-grader Olivia Humphries who was appreciative for all that the veterans have done for this country.
“I’m very proud to be in America, to be in the country that I am today,” she said.