Burnet, Bertram schools to host Veterans Day Tribute with community support
CONNIE SWINNEY • PICAYUNE STAFF
BURNET — Ronald Harrod says youth who realize and honor the contributions of military service men and women can strengthen and unite a community.
“We need more unity in everything we do. Veterans are somebody’s family,” said Harrod, junior vice commander of Burnet VFW Post 6974 and Vietnam veteran and Navy captain. “The family ought to be for the whole community.”
To celebrate Veterans Day on Nov. 11, Harrod and at least 100 other veterans are expected to attend the Veterans Day Tribute hosted by R.J. Richey Elementary School at Bulldog Field, 1000 The Green Mile in Burnet, and Bertram Elementary School, 315 Main St. in Bertram.
“We’re community oriented,” Harrod said. “There are great veterans, and we need to support them.”
The Veterans Day Tribute at the stadium begins 10 a.m. and includes a fly-over, a flag ceremony, speakers, patriotic songs and a Veterans Walk of Honor featuring veterans and led by educators, students and community leaders.
“They’re very emotional about it. You can see it in the veterans’ eyes. You can hear it in their voices,” said Principal Jill Wittekind of R.J. Richey Elementary School, comprised of third- through fifth-grade students. “There’s a connection, and the kids become very emotional. The kids really begin to understand what happened.”
Participating groups include the Burnet VFW, the Highland Lakes Honor Guard and the Commemorative Air Force.
“We’re seeing more people interested in it and, especially, kids who didn’t know what went on back in those days,” Harrod said. “We’re the ones who can pass it along because we’re the ones who lived it.”
At 11 a.m., volunteers will serve a complimentary lunch to veterans in the R.J. Richey Elementary School cafeteria. Visiting adults pay $3.25, and a child’s meal is $2.
The simultaneous event on the campus under a pavilion in Bertam will start at 9 a.m. with speakers, a ceremony, patriotic music and a lunch at 11 a.m.
Coordinators of the tribute say, through the years, elder veterans have passed away, and organizers have experienced an increase in participation from younger veterans in more recent wars.
“We also want to educate our kids on what our veterans do and what they’ve sacrificed for us. It’s also about patriotism in our country,” Wittekind said. “It’s important to pull us all together and realize the freedoms we have and why we have them.”
Harrod, who has periodically attended the tribute since 1995, said he and other veterans appreciate the support from the community.
“I’m proud to be there. I was proud to stand up for what I did,” Harrod said. “This keeps us together. If we don’t stay together, we’re going to fall.”
In the event of inclement weather, the Burnet ceremony will be moved inside the elementary school.