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November 13, 2018

Prince Veterans Day Ceremony a Special Event

On Monday, November 12th, the Prince Avenue Christian School student body gathered for a special Veterans Day Ceremony.  The school extended an invitation to local veterans to attend the ceremony and to be honored on their special day.  Many of the veterans in attendance were family members of students.

Because this was the first time the school had held this event, the administration was not sure what to expect by way of participation and numbers of veterans that might attend.  Despite all of the unknowns, more than 70 veterans and their families representing all branches of the military attended with enthusiasm.  Veterans were greeted in the entrance way by lower school students holding American flags and were then given a special seat in the front of the auditorium. 

    

The ceremony was opened with prayer by Prince Head of School Col Seth Hathaway and a presentation of the colors.  The remainder of the ceremony was student-led beginning with the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag.   The Prince Avenue Advanced Band combined with the voices of the middle and high school Performing Arts students to perform the Star Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful.     

Students then explained the history of Veterans Day as well as the history of the musical anthem of each branch of service.  Veterans were invited to stand and were honored with applause when their branch’s song was played.  Lower, middle, and high school students continued the ceremony by reading poems and letters that had been written to honor the veterans and concluded with a special prayer for veterans, their families, and the nation.

      

 

An especially moving moment was the spontaneous standing ovation the veterans received as they were escorted out of the worship center.  This gracious response moved many of the veterans to tears as they filed out and into the atrium.  One of the veterans in attendance, Jim McNamara, explained the emotion of that moment.  “Many of us have seen video of troops returning from overseas and walking through an airport to rounds of applause. I now know how those troops feel because, at the end of the ceremony, we veterans left the room while all around us people stood and applauded. My experience when I returned from Vietnam in 1968 was not as bad as some of my fellow soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen, but there certainly was no applause. The students, faculty, and staff of the Prince Avenue Christian School made this veteran seem special.”

Afterward, students, faculty, and staff enjoyed visiting with the veterans as refreshments were served and veterans were given special letters of thanks written and prepared by students as mementos of the special event.