The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 10 No. 7 - November 11, 2009


Students celebrate Veteran's Day

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

SUN PHOTO/TOM VAUGHT Marine Corps veteran Ralph Bassett
tells fifth-graders about his service in the Korean War.

HOLMES BEACH – Fifth-graders at Anna Maria Elementary School celebrated Veteran’s Day early last Friday with four local military veterans.

Three of the four veterans represented a branch of the military while the fourth veteran narrated a program about what veterans represent and another about the history of the American flag.

After leading everyone on a pledge to the flag, American Legion Kirby Stewart Post 24 Honor Guard member Larry Fowler spoke about the importance of honoring the men and women who fought to protect our country.

“One of the greatest losses you can have is not knowing how you got here with the freedoms you are allowed,” he told the students.

Then with the assistance of the school’s honor guard, Fowler narrated a history of flags that represented America from its days as a British colony through its fight for independence and to the American flag as it stands today.

Remember, the flag represents all of us,” he told them.

Then the students reassembled into their three classes, each on visiting with one of the veterans at a table.

Dick Herman, an Army veteran of World War II in Europe, told them about his battles against the Germans.

Jim Dunne, who spent three years at sea and 33 years of active and reserve service in the U.S. Navy, spoke about his exploits in World War II and Korea. He brought a picture of the destroyer on which he served, the USS Sullivans, named for George, Francis, Madison, Joseph and Albert, the Sullivan brothers who died when their ship, USS Juneau, sank after being torpedoed by a Japanese submarine during the battle for Guadalcanal on Nov. 13, 1942.

Ralph Bassett, a Marine Corps veteran of Korea, brought medals he earned and picture of himself in uniform while he was on active duty.

All three of the veterans answered questions from the kids.

“This is great,” said AME Guidance counselor Cindi Harrison. “We haven’t done this in a few years, and it’s something that should be done so that our students can learn more about the people who fought for our freedom.”

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