Over 100 veterans were in attendance for Perdido Elementary/Middle School's annual Salute to the Veterans program.

Perdido students present annual Veterans Day program

Published 4:00pm Thursday, November 10, 2011

Over 100 U,S, Military veterans, along with their family members, attended the annual Salute to Veterans held at Perdido Elementary/Middle School Wednesday.

The event got under way with veterans and their guests being greeted at their cars and assisted inside the school by members of Perdido’s football team.  Once they the guests reached the front of the gym, Pre-K and Kindergarten students welcomed them with cheers, flags, pom-poms and pin-wheels.  Members of Alabama’s Patriot Guard stood at attention as the veterans entered.

The Escambia County High School NJROTC “Posted the Colors,” to begin Wednesday’s program and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Perdido Cub Scouts Mason Smith, JT Clay and Christopher Johnson.

Following the pledge, the playing of the “Star Spangled Banner” by the Perdido Band, under the direction of Melanie Brannon, was presented. The band also performed “God Bless America” and “America the Beautiful”.

Special guests, including. Alabama Representatives Alan Baker and Harry Shiver, South Alabama Honor Flight Director Dr. Barry Booth, members of the Atmore VFW, and American Legion, members of the Alabama Patriot Guard, and Major Arthur Byrne, representing the Baldwin County Sheriffs Department were recognized by Principal, Craig Smith. The Perdido Chorus, under the direction of Dell Edwards sang, “Blue, Red and White,” and “Alabama” to close the opening portion of the assembly.

Guest speaker, retired Major Gaston Jones, challenged and inspired students, teachers and veterans alike, as he shared his experiences from growing up in a military family, to playing football at Marion Military Institute.   He then pursued a full-time military career until his retirement as a Chaplin in the United States Air Force.  He is currently the Commander of the AFJROTC at a Baldwin County school.

A special presentation was also made to the family of Lance Cpl Bruce Ferrell, Jr., USMC.  Rep. Baker spoke of the dedication and sacrifice made by the former Perdido student, who made the ultimate sacrifice for the United States, on August 10, 2009. Baker then presented the family with the Alabama State Flag and the United States Flag which was flown over the Capital in memory of Lance Cpl Ferrell.

Perdido Middle School students who participated in the annual Patriots Pen Essay Contest for the past six years also had a chance to share their work during Wednesday’s assembly, as the top three students read their essays aloud.  Those students were:  Evan Williams, Ashley Presley and Tori Clark.  Their essays have been submitted to the Atmore VFA, where they will compete against other middle school students throughout the area.

Closing remarks were given by Assistant Principal Karen Dyess and were followed by the playing of “TAPS’ by Perdido students Corbin Hill and Wesley Rabren

Those in attendance were treated to a reception following the program, held in honor of those men and women who faithfully served in the U.S. Military.


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