Monday was a dignified celebration of gratitude and faith at Apalachicola’s First Baptist School.
Stained glass windows glowed serenely on the uplifted faces of students, families and veterans on the day they had come to honor.
The morning ceremony began with the presentation of the American and Christian flags, and the Bible by the senior class, and a group pledge of allegiance to each.
The assembly raised voices together in the national snthem followed by a welcome from director Carline Kembro. Oscar Medley, a veteran, led the opening prayer.
Next, came performances by the students beginning with the youngest. The K3 class sang, “I Am in the Lord’s Army’” with great spirit. K-4 presented “Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue!” to loud applause. K-5 recited “Daddy Hold Me High,” a patriotic poem.
The first and second grade joined to recite “Veteran’s Day”. Grades three and four sang “They Keep Us Free.” The fifth and sixth grades recited “The American’s Creed,” by William Tyler Page.
Grades seven and eight performed “The Defense of Fort McHenry,” a radio play about the night Francis Scott Key composed the poem that became the national anthem.
Sophomores, juniors and seniors took the stage to read a list of facts about the birth of Veteran’s Day as Armistice Day and changes to the celebration over the years.
The freshmen each gave thanks to one or more veterans who played a personal role in their lives. Attending veterans were called to the stage, conflict by conflict, and received a gift from the senior class after which they stood before the assembly to receive a standing ovation in gratitude for their service.
Rev. Bill Plazarin read a list of county heroes who have fallen, each name accented by a staccato tap on the drum.
Medley, World War II veteran Red Sizemore and Louis Van Vleet, whose brother Ellis died in the South Pacific in March 1945, performed the folding of the flag while Plazarin explained the meaning of each step in the ceremony. The day’s contemplation ended with a mournful rendition of “Taps,” followed by the students and congregation singing “God Bless America.”