Military Veterans and their families filled tables on the floor of the P.E. Wallace Middle School Gym while students and staff filled the stands in colored shirts that represented the flag of the United States on Monday, November 11 as Wallace presented their 22nd annual Veterans Day Program. Wallace and MPHS students served the veterans and their families lunch while they were entertained by music from the past played by Tim Ervin on the trumpet. Local businesses donated gift cards that were presented to the audience members as door prizes. Mr. Bo Rester unveiled the sign that will designate a section of Highway 271 as the Titus County World War II Veterans Memorial Highway.
Started 22 years ago by then principal Rodney Huffman and teachers Jana Milam and Vicki Sinclair, the program was created to fulfill two purposes: to honor military veterans and to help Wallace students understand the role and sacrifices of the those who serve in the military.
This year’s Veterans address was given by Command Sergeant Major Charles W. Thompson, retired from the U.S. Army. He is a member of the U.S. Army Ranger Hall of Fame and Wallace 5th grade teacher Carson Melo’s father.
The program was full of music: Ervin on trumpet, the Wallace 5th and 6th Grade Honor Choirs, the “Andrews Sisters” (Zena Lawrence, Shonda Randle, Nan Verner, Deanna Warren and Diane Swiger on piano), and solos by Verner and Landon Johnson. Ervin played “Reveille” and “Taps” to open and close the program.
The Mt. Pleasant Police Department posted and retrieved the American and Texas flags, while Wallace students presented the military branch flags and, finally, the POW-MIA flag which was accompanied by a moment of silence.
Military widows, active military members, military mothers and recipients of military awards for Valor and Purple Hearts were honored. Special recognition was given to two members of the audience who had served in World War II.
Sixth grade student Jay-len Jackson read her Pilot Club award-winning essay, “I’m Proud to be an American.” A Pilot Club member presented Jackson a certificate for writing the moving essay.
“I am extremely proud to be able to present our Veterans such a wonderful program,” said Wallace Principal Nathan Rider. “It is a great opportunity for us to honor our veterans and for our students to learn the importance of Veteran’s Day. The students, faculty, and community all come together to make this the best Veteran’s Day program in Titus County.”