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Sand Hill Elementary students honor, thank soldiers
SHES vets day
Sand Hill Veterans Day program - photo by Photo submitted

Sand Hill Elementary honored all veterans including parents, family, friends and staff members, with a special recognition for service men and women from its community partner, the 165th Airlift Wing Maintenance Air Squadron of the Georgia Air National Guard during its Veterans Day observance on Nov. 9.

The program featured keynote speaker, retired Air Force Col. Ed Wexler, who shared with Sand Hill students a White House Presidential address about the significance of Veterans’ Day, and recognized veterans from the Sand Hill community.

Col. Wexler joined the Air National Guard, 165th Airlift Wing in 1973 and served as air intelligence officer, aircraft maintenance squadron and group commander, and wing vice-commander before becoming the state Human Resources Officer for the Army and Air National Guard.

Featured guest Susie Stephens, Georgia State and Region Coordinator of the National League of Families for POW/MIAs offered information about soldiers who have been prisoners of war and those categorized as Missing in Action. Students were given commemorative Veterans Day posters. Some individual classes at Sand Hill Elementary additionally have elected to “Adopt-a-Soldier” and will continue throughout the year to e-mail, mail, and send care packages to deployed service personnel.

Each class at Sand Hill designed a poster-sized “thank you” card thanking veterans for their service. Students also created holiday greetings and collected more than six large boxes of personal items to be delivered to soldiers of the 165th who will be deployed in Afghanistan over the holidays.

A Color Guard posted and retired the colors. The Sand Hill Chorus performed under the direction of music teacher Aileen Tuten. Many members of the 165th were on hand to be honored and receive the presentation of gifts from the students.

According to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs in Washington, R. James Nicholson, there are more than 24 million living veterans whom “we thank for their example of service and sacrifice, and we pledge to uphold their legacy by teaching younger generations about their role in securing the blessings of liberty.”