Peebles High School hosted its annual Veterans Day Ceremony on Monday, Nov. 9. The yearly event is held to recognize and pay tribute to those who have served, past and present, in the United States armed forces. National Honor Society Students and Student Council members welcomed this year’s visiting veterans.
The Adams County Liberty Band began the celebration with a welcoming musical tribute to all of the visiting service men and women. Boy Scout Troop 266 conducted the Presentation of Colors and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Following opening remarks by Principal Tim Davis, the national anthem was sung by Gracelyn Kephart and the PHS Senior Band performed “Song for an American Hero”.
The keynote speaker was Major Donald Smalley, a graduate of Peebles High School and Vietnam War Veteran.
Teachers John Robinson and Cristin Meyer were the event organizers, Robinson acted as emcee for the ceremony.
“This is my favorite day of the school year,” said Robinson. “We recognize how important it is to give students the opportunity to interact with veterans by giving them the opportunity to hear the veterans’ stories and ask them questions about their experiences. We are also very thankful for Principal Davis’s support of our Veterans Day program. He has high expectations and likes to see a thoughtful, well put-together program.”
This year’s program included the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War Commemoration.
Two servicemen from Peebles who fought and died in Vietnam were recognized: SP4 Samuel Arlon Johnson and CPL Willard Boston Wallace.
PHS teacher David Vogler played the “Vietnam Blues” while Senior Jack Behr read the lyrics to those assembled. Behr plans to join the Marines following his graduation.
“Vietnam Blues” was written by Kris Kristofferson in 1966 as an anthem to show support for American soldiers and their families during the war in Vietnam.
Each of the attending veterans were recognized for their service: United States Army: WWII: Lt. Col. Harry V. Shoop, Henry Robertson; Korean War: Pete Puckett, Kenneth Smalley; Korean War Era: Joe Martin, Gary A. Browning; Vietnam War Era: Donald Smalley, Ken Williamson, Winston Smalley, Bill Willey, Jerry Johnson, Danny Browning, Rick Cunningham, Jim Vanpelt, Bill Baxter, Dexter Thornberry, Rick Johnson, Jerry Swayne, Keith C. Swearingen, Steven Vest, Desert Storm: Timothy S. Davis; Afghanistan; Iraq/Afghanistan: Scott Lovett; David Kelley. United States Navy: Korean War: Donald Mefford; Vietnam Era: Michael Newman, Wayne Watson, John Brockhoeft, Vance R. Greenwood; Richard Burke,
Lisa Scott, Michael Pendell. United States Air Force: Korean War: Richard Hoop; Vietnam War: Larry Mitchell, Bill Nichols. United States Marine Corps: William Howard, Charles Clark, Denny Rosenhoffer, Christian Phillips.
The Liberty Band played “A Tribute to Armed Service” in honor of the different military branches. David Vogler performed an instrumental version of “A Patriotic Melody.”
Mr. William Williamson of Batavia VVA # 649, a former armed services photographer, presented the Peebles High School Library with a copy of his book featuring photographs he took during his tour in Vietnam.
PHS Junior Amber Renchen performed “Come Home Soon” in honor of those currently serving.
Tim Davis closed the ceremony, expressing his thanks to the veterans and the various organizations, business, and clubs that worked together to make the ceremony happen. He reminded the students and visitors, “You have more choices and opportunities to pursue your dreams and wishes, regardless of race, color or creed, and that is due to one group of people, the veterans of the United States Armed Services.”
Following the ceremony the National Honor Society and the Student Council provided lunch for the veterans. Wal-Mart in West Union donated a meat and cheese tray. Several veterans remained at the high school talking with interested student and faculty members throughout the remainder of the day.