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St. Mary's School holds inaugural Veterans Day program

Aiken Standard - 11/16/2023

Nov. 16—St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic School was filled with music and artwork at its inaugural Veterans Day program on Tuesday.

The school typically holds a patriotic event in the spring. "I thought it was very important to pull this together specifically for Veterans Day," said teacher and program co-director Jane Timmerman. "Our veterans do not get enough recognition."

Joining Timmerman in directing the program was teacher and choir director Camille Rosier.

Speakers included the Rev. Richard Wilson and Retired U.S. Army Col. David Rozelle. School principal Laura Webster believes that their stories of faith and resilience make them excellent role models for students.

"To have two speakers, our pastor and the retired colonel, is just fabulous," she said.

Students from kindergarten to eighth grade gave a variety of performances including "The Star-Spangled Banner," Schoolhouse Rock's "Preamble to the Constitution," and a demonstration of The White Table Ceremony, a tradition that honors military members who are missing in action or prisoners of war.

Different grades also took turns singing different military branch anthems including the songs that represent the Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, Marines, Army and Space Force. Veterans and active-duty service members were given a chance to stand and be recognized as their anthem was played.

The wall on the performance stage was covered in a splash of paper poppy flowers, created by art teacher Michelle Griffin. Why poppies? Lt. Col. John McCrae wrote in his World War I poem titled "In Flanders Fields" about poppies growing around the graves of soldiers. Since then, it has become a symbol of remembrance for veteran sacrifices.

According to Webster, having this event is important because it allows the students to broaden their perspectives. "I love it because the students kind of come out of themselves and think about others," she said.

St. Mary's School will continue to incorporate this event into the school year along with the spring event, creating a tradition of remembrance and gratitude.

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