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story.lead_photo.caption Photo by Mike Eckels Jesse Owens, Decatur’s band and choir director, conducts the Decatur High School band in a medley of familiar John Phillip Sousa marches, including Stars and Strips Forever, during the Decatur High School Veterans Day assembly at Peterson Gym on Nov. 11.

DECATUR -- The first Veterans Day (then known as Armistice Day) was established on Nov. 11 to commemorate the date when a temporary cease fire between Germany and Allied Forces was signed, putting an end to "the war to end all wars," World War One. Ninety-seven years later schools around the country continue to commemorate this important date in history.

Decatur Middle and High Schools held a Veterans Day Assembly at 11 a.m. Nov. 11 in Peterson Gym.

Honored at this year's event were members of the Decatur and Siloam Springs Veterans of Foreign Wars chapters.

The program began with the posting of the colors performed by Sterling Pollard and Mike Carnahan, both members of the Decatur VFW. Once the flags were in place, the Decatur High School band played the National Anthem.

The first speaker was Matt McClain, Staff Sergeant, United States Air Force. McClain reflected on a chance meeting with a veteran during a hunting expedition.

While pheasant hunting in Kansas, McClain met a man whose Air Force career spanned three wars, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. McClain was so moved by the man' s long and distinguished military career that he joined the United States Air Force and currently serves as a crew chief.

The final guest speaker was Sergeant John T. Price with the Arkansas Army National Guard. He met a military veteran during a Veterans Day ceremony in 2005. He was so moved by the event that he, like McClain, joined the army in 2009 and continues to serve his country. At the end of his speech, he stepped way from the podium and, with a salute, thanked the veterans for their service and sacrifice to this country.

The Decatur High School choir, under the direction of Jesse Owens, then performed a medley of anthems of all five branches of the service including the Coast Guard, Air Force, Navy, Marines and Army. The veterans stood at attention as their particular anthem was played.

The program concluded with the high school band performing a medley of patriotic marches by John Phillip Sousa and the striking of the colors.

After the assembly, the students had a chance to talk to the veterans as they exited the gym. Many of them thanked the veterans for their service to this country.

General News on 11/18/2015

Print Headline: Decatur High holds first Veterans Day assembly

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