Maplesville students honor veterans with painted rocks

Published 11:46 am Friday, November 10, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/Senior Staff Writer

Maplesville Elementary second-grade students paid special tribute to veterans with a rock placing ceremony on Nov. 9.

Each of the 27 students had painted an American flag on a rock and put a veteran’s name on the back. The rocks were placed in the Maplesville rock garden near the Methodist Church. As the students placed the rock, they said the name and branch of the military the veteran had served in.

Several students read short essays on what Veterans Day meant to them.

“What Veterans Day means to me is everyone celebrates the veterans for serving us … Every veteran has a right to be celebrated,” student Reese Payne said. “It is our goal to remember the veterans, those who are with us and those who are not with us. Even though I don’t know a lot of veterans, I still love them all.”

Student Kinslei Ray said she prays for veterans on Veterans Day.

Multiple students talked about how this country and even Maplesville itself would not be what it is without the veterans.

One student, Archie Ingram, had a special rock that his uncle had brought back from a trip to Normandy. While the rock is not from the actual D-Day invasion, it is from the same beach that the troops landed on.

In preparation for the ceremony, the students studied veterans and the different branches of the United States military.

Teacher Gina Riley said she wanted her students to have a Veterans Day program, since they do not participate in the school assembly for the older grades. She said her husband is a veteran and her students “need to know the tradition of our country.”

A few veterans attended the ceremony.

U.S. Navy veteran Joel Atchison thanked the students recognizing Veterans Day.

“I absolutely appreciate the school doing this, teaching these young children what the veterans are,” Atchison said.

The ceremony concluded with a poem and song in honor of those who have served.