Pelham Ridge Elementary salutes heroes with Veterans Day Program

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

PELHAM – The gymnasium at Pelham Ridge Elementary School the afternoon of Friday, Nov. 8, was filled with heroes as the student body, faculty and visitors thanked these men and women who served our country during a special Veterans Day Program.

“As a daughter of a Marine, I want to thank you for joining us to recognize our veterans for their unwavering service to our country,” Pelham Ridge Elementary School Principal Robin Hollingsworth said. “Students, we’re here today in the midst of patriots in our families and friends who set aside their personal dreams to ensure the wellbeing of our great nation. We’re here to honor these heroes, their courage, dedication and sacrifice.”

As the veterans in attendance sat against the wall behind a large banner that read “We Love Our Veterans,” the students paid tribute by performing two songs to start the program.

The fourth grade class performed “In Service of Our Country” followed by the fifth grade class singing “We Honor Those Who Served” as the program then gave way to the presentation of American flags by the Cahaba Valley Elks Lodge No. 1738.

Members of the Cahaba Valley Elks Lodge No. 1738 presented a variety of special American flags from the past, all the way up to the current flag that is flown all over the United States today.

Following the presentation of the American flags, the anthem for each branch of the armed forces was played while the veterans in attendance were asked to stand to be recognized.

At the conclusion of the program, Pelham Ridge Kindergarten teacher Kelly Whitman was presented with a special gift from U.S. Army Veteran Paul Howell.

“Of the many ceremonies that are going to take place today, this weekend and on Monday, this is one that is most precious to me,” Howell said. “The flag presented today is worn and tattered because it has flown over this school for the last 365 days. If you go outside today after school and look there is a brand-new flag flying. This flag here is going to a very deserving teacher and one that symbolizes our Veterans Day values. I am privileged to present this year’s flag to Kelly Whitman. She is a kindergarten teacher and has a servant’s heart to strive each and every day to better the lives of her students. While all teachers deserve our admiration, Mrs. Whitman has stood out as someone who reaches others that is extremely hard to measure.”