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Hartselle Enquirer

HJHS attracts big crowd for Veterans Day Program

A new location and a new time didn’t affect the turnout for Hartselle Junior High School’s annual Veterans Day Program, conducted at the J.C. Pettey Center at 10:30 a.m. on Friday. The popular event attracted a standing room only crowd of students, faculty members, veterans and their guests.

The program featured band and choral music and songs, the reading of patriotic essays written by students, an Armed Forces salute to veterans according to the branch of service in which they served and a video tribute to veterans prepared by teacher, coach and U.S. Army veteran Shane Alexander.

Emcee Mark Hendrix, an Army veteran, related a combat story told to him by an 87-year-old WWII Army-Air Force veteran to illustrate the importance of keeping the experiences of veterans alive.

“This man was a flight engineer on a B-29 bomber, which carried a 10-man crew,” Hendrix said. “On one of their bombing missions in the Pacific Theatre, the plane lost an engine and was about to lose another when the pilot decided to ditch the plane in the ocean. The plane went down nose first and the pilot, co-pilot and an observing pilot went under water. The rest of the crew scrambled outside and got into a lifeboat, thinking the others had drowned. Fortunately, they popped up out of the water and were pulled on board. They spent three days floating around in the water with only tomato soup and Hershey bars to eat. They were rescued by a passing ship.

“I relate his story to encourage today’s generation to seek out veterans who are close to them and ask them to share some of their experiences,” Hendrix added.

Student tributes to veterans were read by Tori Argenti, Conner McKee, Grant Wallace, Kendra Crow and Taylor Adams.

Will Garner and Conner Lovelady led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance and Garrett Wade welcomed veterans and guests.