Van Buren High School students and staff along with veterans and their families filled the school’s auditorium for the annual Veterans Day celebration.
Veterans from all major U.S. conflicts except World War II attended the ceremony hosted by the VBHS Junior ROTC in the Clair Bates Arena Tuesday morning.
The ceremony is meant to honor both active and retired veterans in all branches of the military.
Crawford County District 5 Constable Lee Holland, who served as a tanker during the Vietnam War era and achieved the rank of captain in the Army, was one of those who attended the ceremony.
While Holland denied that military veterans "deserved" to be recognized as heroes, he said recognition, especially for veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars, is appreciated.
"I was spit at, had rocks thrown at me, called names," Holland said. "I never asked for praise or medals or anything; just treat us like people. So, yeah, this means a lot."
Members of the VBHS band played the national anthem "The Star Spangled Banner," "Taps" and "God Bless America" during the celebration, along with patriotic choir performances.
An all-female choir gave a musical rendition of "High Flight," a sonnet written by John Gillespie Magee who was an American pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force in World War II.
"Tell My Father," a story about a dying Civil War soldier written by Jack Murphy for the musical "The Civil War," was sang by an all-male choir.
Two junior students from the high school’s honors history class gave speeches prepared specifically for Veteran’s Day.
Bethany Sutterfield gave a touching address on the meaning of the word "veteran," while Logan Koprovic spoke on Arkansas’ role in U.S. conflicts.
After the ceremony, the attending veterans were ushered into a reception area for refreshments provided by the VBHS FCCLA Club.