At the 11th hour today, on this 11th day of this 11th month, a tradition continued for many citizens, a tradition of honor and recognition. This Veteran’s Day celebrates those veterans who have served in our armed forces.
Keeping the tradition of the signing of the armistice of World War I, the recognition in Ellijay began at 11 a.m., the eleventh hour. And today saw smiles and laughter, hugs amongst friends and family, and the honoring of our soldiers. It came from both loved ones and strangers. It came in the musical celebrations and the solemn prayers. It came in the casual handshakes and thanks and the rigid codes and regulations.
As a community, many traditions were honored at the Veteran’s Day gathering at the Ellijay Lion’s Club Fairgrounds. Traditions like the GHS Band playing “Salute to the Armed Forces” and singing “God Bless the USA.” There were newer additions like the PGBC Trio under direction of Doug Lee.
Most of the morning was saturated in familiar songs patriotically honoring the country and its defenders. Jeannette Kelly sang our National Anthem, Scott Eaton sang “God Bless the USA,” and the EES Chorus under direction of Katie Mayfield and GHS Chorus under direction of Hannah Carter sang together and each on their own.
A celebration as a community, incorporating veterans and civilians, students and adults, and young and older, becomes more meaningful. Watching members of the 507th Civil Air Patrol post the colors and deliver the memorial wreath beneath the American Flag instills pride as they work to make their moves precise, giving reverence to the soldiers who have done it before them.
Listening to bagpipes play Amazing Grace is an amazing sound, but speaking with the man playing them, George McClellan, you gain insight on just how hard it is to play and handle the instrument. Couple this with his formal uniform, complete with kilt and sporran, and it gives a small glimpse into the dedication that men and women give to this celebration.
Incorporating the entirety of the community not only shows our thanks but teaches future generations how important this day is to us. It may seem convenient to award the poster and essay winners from the schools during this ceremony, but it may be the day to show support for these students, especially in the higher grades. Some of these students are now considering and talking with recruiters about joining the military themselves.
Marie Wych and SMSgt Sam Burrell, Retired USAF, pose with winners of the Poster contests and the Essay contests. Pictured from left to right on back row, Marie Wych, 12th Grade Essay Winner Reagan Boling, 11th Grade Essay Winner Sawyer Wishon, 10th Grade Essay Winner Lucy Ray, 9th Grade Essay Winner Tony Gonzalez, and SMSgt Sam Burrell.
Pictured from left to right on front row, 5th Grade Poster Winner Mattelyn Jones and 3rd Grade Poster Winner Olivia Steingruber.
Not Pictured, 8th Grade Essay Winner Tabitha Hunter, 7th Grade Essay Winner Bayleigh Jasinski, 6th Grade Essay Winner Payton Headricks, and 4th Grade Poster Winner Lissette Garcia.