Julie Nelson’s sixth-grade class at South Side Schools celebrated Veterans Day with an assembly. The entire district was present to welcome the veterans, including WWII, Korean, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan vets.

After the presentation of colors by Kyla Fore, Brady Murphree, Lane Ward and Brady Parish, Dillon Hall led the Pledge of Allegiance. Maggie Huddleston read an excerpt of the Veterans Day message from the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

Students in fourth, fifth, and sixth grades were invited to write patriotic essays. Shelby Treat and Drew Raines, fourth graders, read their essays "Why I Love Veterans." Luke Permenter and Kierra Storment, fifth graders, then read "Why A Veteran Is A Hero" to the assembly. Sixth graders were asked to interpret Edmund Burkes quote, "When liberty is nibbled away … the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." Madison Barr read her essay "The Freedom of Today!" and Katlyn Downes read "Triumph Over Evil."

Ayden Griffith introduced the guest speaker, 1stSgt. Eric Cayson, a 20-year veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Cayson is a war hero and received the Bronze Star with Combat Distinguishing device while serving as Company First Sergeant in 2d Battalion, 6th Marines in Trek Nawa, Marjeh. He has also been awarded the Army Commendation Medal for outstanding professional service in support of the Army and Marine Corps team.

Cayson spoke to students regarding the history of Veterans Day and how important it is to recognize and support all veterans. He then introduced Lincoln Guffey, a 91-year-old WWII veteran, who reminded the students that "people love a well-behaved teen."

The sixth-grade choir, under the direction of Holly White, sang "American Tears." Jacob McJunkins was the crowd-pleasing soloist. Donald Farley, a former student of Nelson’s, played Taps on his trumpet to remember those veterans who are no longer here. Kyle Evans led the dismissal of the assembly, including the retiring of colors.

Veterans, their families and friends and Nelson’s students shared stories and refreshments after the ceremony.