Marine Corps Capt. Michael Cragholm was guest speaker at South Side School’s seventh annual Veterans Day celebration.

Veterans were honored with a ceremony and refreshments hosted by Julie Nelson’s sixth-grade class. The entire campus filled the gym, waved flags, and stood and applauded as area veterans and veterans from around the state filed in. Sixth-grade students presented the colors, and gave a brief history of the armed forces.

Students from fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grades were invited to write essays on the topics "Why I Love My Country," and "What Is the Significance of Veterans Day on November 11 and Why Is That A Good Day to Honor Veterans." Sevan Hurt and Mary Payne, fourth-graders, and Alexa Carter and Andrea DeTour, sixth-graders, read their essays to the veterans and thanked them for their service.

Cragholm is a decorated Marine who is currently assigned as inspector/instructor for the Arkansas Marine Reserve Infantry Company. He is a 10-year veteran. He served two tours of duty in Iraq, where he was injured by an enemy grenade in Fallujah, and two tours of duty in Afghanistan, where he was shot near Marjeh. He spoke of his love for his country and the Marine Corps, and told students that without the brave veterans in the audience who paved the way in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, we would not have the freedoms that we have today. He asked the students to remember when they ate supper or lay in their beds at night to think of those who are sacrificing today and who might not have a warm meal or a pillow to lay their heads on.

Nelson’s class then sang a patriotic song, "A Grateful Nation."

Veterans who have passed away were remembered with Taps, performed by ninth-grader Donald Farley. After the colors were retired, veterans, families, and students enjoyed doughnuts, cookies, coffee and juice, compliments of South Side PTSO.