Students at Dempsey Middle School held two Veterans Day assemblies Monday where they thanked veterans for their service.
Dempsey Principal Dan Bartha said Monday afternoon that about three dozen veterans attended the morning assembly and about four dozen attended the afternoon assembly.
“It’s a chance for our students to see and experience the reality for all those who have sacrificed for our country,” Bartha said. “I hope (students) come away with a sense of pride.”
During the assembly, the Dempsey Band, Dempsey Players and Dempsey Choir played and sang a variety of patriotic songs, including the national anthem and the song for each branch of the armed services.
Dempsey Assistant Principal Brittney Nowlin gave a short speech to students and stressed the importance of honoring veterans.
“When you are out in the community, at a restaurant, or at the mall or here at the school, a veteran is nearby,” Nowlin said. “He or she has put themselves in harm’s way to protect our country and the freedoms we hold so dear. We celebrate Veterans Day by honoring and offering veterans our sincerest thanks and appreciation. I know it’s important on this day and every day to not only recognize and support and thank those who have served and continue to serve, but also to know the origins of this day.”
Nowlin said Veterans Day began as Armistice Day, which commemorated the signing of the armistice that effectively concluded World War 1 on Nov. 11, 1918. Nowlin said President Woodrow Wilson declared the day Armistice Day the following year, and in 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower signed a bill that changed the name to Veterans Day.
“With that history, we are gathered here today to honor all who have served and those who continue to serve,” Nowlin said.
Bartha then invited the veterans to come up to the podium and introduced themselves. The veterans who introduced themselves received rounds of applause and cheers from students.
U.S. Army veteran Justin Winebrenner said it was a fun experience for him, since he attended school at Dempsey.
“It felt great,” he said.
After the assembly, Nowlin detailed what she hoped students took away from the assembly.
“(I hope they got) a sense of honor and pride in our nation,” she said. “(The goal was) to honor the past and our veterans who fought hard for some of our rights and our country.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.