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GHS hosts Veterans Day program

Greenville High School honored the nation’s servants and protectors during its Veterans Day program, held Thursday morning in the school auditorium.

Backed by the patriotic tones of the GHS symphonic band and choir, the Butler County JROTC spearheaded the program, beginning with a welcome from Commander Banes Carlyon as well as opening remarks from Butler County Schools superintendent John Strycker.

After a sequence of musical presentations, including a rendition of Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” from David Norrell, Battalion XO Erykah Perdue offered words of thanks to local veterans in attendance.

As “Salute to the Armed Forces” played, veterans stood when their respective service flag was raised.

Senior Army instructor Colonel Alan Hester offered final remarks and a closing presentation that highlighted Alabama’s importance in the history of Veterans Day.

“When the Great War ended on the 11th hour of Nov. 11, people were so thankful that they hoped there would never be another conflict again,” Hester said.

“Of course, it didn’t turn out that way, but one year later on Nov. 11, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson commemorated the first anniversary of the Great War, and it was the first of what we now call Veterans Day.  So this is the 99th anniversary of Veterans Day. It was known then as Armistice Day, and it is still known as Armistice Day in many European countries.”

He went on to say that in 1945, an Alabamian named Raymond Weeks, of Birmingham, thought to commemorate all of the lives lost in the second world war, as well.

He would go on to discuss the expanding of Armistice Day with President Dwight Eisenhower to include all veterans throughout all conflicts.

“The concept was fully formed and the named was changed in 1954 to Veterans Day, due to the persistent efforts of Mr. Raymond Weeks,” Hester said.

Much later in Weeks’ lifetime, President Ronald Reagan honored him at the White House and officially proclaimed him the father of Veterans Day.

As the Veterans Day program wound to a close, Captain Lieutenant Colonel Carlyon concluded the ceremony with a drill team exhibition, offering one more round of thanks to local veterans and beyond.