A local school transformed this morning into a human corridor of loud and rousing gratitude for America’s military veterans.
Thousands of Lakota East High School students lined the Liberty Twp. school’s giant, main hall this morning, filling the air with appreciative applause as dozens of area veterans paraded through.
It was just a small part of an elaborate ceremony the school put on to honor veterans.
Earlier at Lakota East, veterans enjoyed a complimentary breakfast while a student jazz combo played. Student escorts accompanied them to their parade start in main hall and then they were center stage in the school’s gym, seated under a giant American flag.
The school’s orchestra and choir serenaded the veterans with patriotic songs, including the official songs of each branch of the U.S. military.
Students and school officials gave inspirational speeches on the importance of gratitude for all the women and men who have served to protect our nation’s freedoms.
And for U.S. Army veteran Lou Bock, all the honors and festivities ended with a prideful hug from a very special Lakota East student — his granddaughter.
“It was very emotional,” said Bock with emotion in his voice. “When kids take time out of their day to say thank you, it’s very impressive, that’s all I can say.”
That was one of the main reasons the Butler County school, which is one of the largest in Southwest Ohio, put on the ceremonies, said Lakota East Principal Suzanna Davis.
“It means so much to our teachers and as you can see it means the world to our students,” Davis told the veterans after the breakfast ceremony. “Our hope today is that we can celebrate you.”
Lakota East senior Zachary Thomas volunteered to be one of the escorts and spoke during the ceremony.
After meeting the veterans of all ages and branches of service, Thomas said the ceremony moved him and his classmates.
“My classmates really appreciate this day and I noticed a lot of people came to school today wearing patriotic stuff,” he said. “It’s something we don’t get to do very often since Veterans Day happens once a year, so we should take the opportunity to honor these veterans for their service and protecting our freedoms all throughout our history.”