Palmetto Elementary honors veterans with parade

Thu, 11/13/2008 - 4:50pm
By: Ben Nelms

Freedom is not free.

Palmetto Elementary honors veterans with parade

Veterans Day is always a special occasion at Palmetto Elementary School. What began 13 years ago continued to expand into what has become a spectacular event complete with guest speakers, a student parade, JROTC color guard and hundreds of flags waved by excited students in the gym, private collections of vintage uniforms, flags, pictures and various military items near the media center and a 1943 Ford military jeep outside the school’s front door. And on Nov. 10 the tradition continued.

Spearheaded again this year by Palmetto Elementary’s Health Clinic Assistant Kay Long, the school’s gym was transformed Monday morning into a visual explosion of patriotism. The event began with a parade, complete with colorful banners made and carried by students. Their laps around the gym were accentuated by the cheers and applause of hundreds of students, teachers and the many visitors that filled the large room. There was no shortage of patriotism that day in the small Coweta/Fulton city of Palmetto.

Words by Palmetto Mayor John Miller, who was joined in the audience of officials by Chattahoochee Hill country Mayor Don Hayes, were followed by the guest speaker, Capt. Tommy Clack (Retired).

A Vietnam veteran who lost three limbs and suffered internal injures and a loss of hearing on May 29, 1969 during his second tour, Clack had words that brought home the reality of both the nature and the price of freedom.

“Freedom is not free. We have to pay the price. Your brothers and sisters have volunteered to put themselves in harm’s way. Freedom is an ongoing process. And if we’ve got enough money to fight a war we’ve got enough money to take care of its warriors,’ Clack said to a hushed audience while providing advice for the future. “George Washington once said that the best way to prevent a war is to be prepared to fight one.”

Also featured during the ceremony were Palmetto Elementary’s Music Director Katie Christenberry singing the National Anthem and Creekside High School’s Army JROTC Color Guard.

“We would like to thank everyone for attending our 13th Annual Veteran’s Day Celebration,” Principal Maureen Wheeler said at the conclusion of the event. “Thanks for helping us honor all veterans and current military men and women.”

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