Veterans Day event back on track in BathPublished 9:17pm Friday, November 9, 2012
Bath Elementary School students held their Veterans Day Memorial Service in a newly renovated gym Friday.
Hurricane Irene interrupted the 25-year-old tradition, but faculty and students made up for lost time combining the ceremony with an official grand opening of the new gymnasium.
“I know it was a long year to go without a vital part of your facilities. But, look at the finished product. It’s beautiful,” said Beaufort County Schools assistant superintendent John Conway.
He then thanked veterans for protecting and providing a free and open society.
“To all the veterans here today, I offer the greatest heartfelt thanks,” he said.
Board of education member Eltha Booth presented the school with a flag to replace the one lost in Hurricane Irene. She said the flag had been flown over the nation’s Capitol.
“We feel that the gymnasium wouldn’t have been complete without having the flag back on the wall,” Booth said.
Principal Pam Hodges said the flag would be up before sundown. She asked students to pause and think about the real reason they would have Monday off from school.
“I think today had a special feel to it… to be back in our gym,” Hodges said.
Mike Shutak, a veteran of the US Marine Corp, provided a prayer and remarks at the ceremony.
“On behalf of all our vets who have served in the military, I say thank you for remembering,” Shutak said. “Veterans Day is exactly that, a day for remembering.”
He said the images of battle seen in movies did not prepare him for what he saw on the battlefield.
“For there’s no glory in war,” he said. “We pray that none of our young students here will have to experience the personal agony and experience of war.”
The school remembered alumni who had been killed in action. Fifteen former Bath Elementary students were killed in World War II. Some of their family members attended the ceremony.
Members of the Northside High School Junior ROTC carried out photos of two alumni killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
As Pearl Harbor survivors Theodore Alligood and Frank Clark looked on, the JROTC honored those who had been killed with a silent 21-gun salute.
“Having the JROTC students come is just so special,” said Hodges after the ceremony.
She remembered many of the high school students as students at Bath Elementary School. Many of them started at Bath in kindergarten.
“I could look at the students who participated and think they sat here not too may years ago,” Hodges said. “They stood with such poise and refrain. It makes you realize you’re coming full circle.”