CMS honors veterans

Cedartown Middle School hosts veterans for their special program last Friday. 

Cedartown Middle School got a head start on Veteran’s Day with a school wide celebration of those who served in the armed forces.

With a patriotic student base and dedicated staff, the school pulled off a multi-layered event that sported a performance of TAPS by the CMS band, moved into the recognition of veterans, featured original veteran themed poetry from students, and a passionate speech from principal Shannon Hulsey, among other parts of the ceremony.

The size of the event was partly due to student’s commitment. Distressed at the school’s old, tattered flag, the student body formed a flag raising group that works in the mornings and afternoons.

Sheriff Johnny Moats brought the school a new flag after hearing about the situation, and Coosa Credit Union ordered a massive 6 by 8 flag for CMS. The school itself is looking to purchase a spotlight so the flag can be seen flying even in the night.

The school’s patriotism no doubt helped make the massive event possible. There were 21 student participants who asked questions, wrote poetry, created essays, gave speeches, played music, or otherwise contributed to honoring local vets.

A select few students, who showed interest in joining a branch of the military, were honored with the role of flag bearer.

“The students all did wonderful,” Hulsey said. “Thank you to all who participated, and as reward for the good behavior, teachers should take their classes out for a minimum 20-minute recess break.”

Giving local vets the honor they deserve was made possible only by staff, students, and the community at large. First Baptist Church of Cedartown donated military flags, Greg Gay and the Polk County Historical Society temporarily loaned military objects for display, Jeff Gossett directed the band, Mr. and Mrs. Mark Woodhouse served as speakers, and the students and staff donated time and effort.

CMS’s Veteran’s Day event is unique in that those involved focused extensively on the history of the holiday. Everything from the songs to the symbols had their lineage and meaning discussed in detail, and even the event’s program was lined with information.

“In 1954, after having been through both World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd U.S. Congress amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting the word “Veterans,” Olivia Cleveland wrote in one small excerpt from the event’s history of Veteran’s Day segment. “With the approval of the legislation on June 1, 1954, November 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.”

Mark Woodhouse was one speaker during the Nov. 10 event who answered student provided questions ranging everywhere from what the military does to what one can expect in the armed forces.

“This question asks, ‘which branch of the military should I join?’” Woodhouse said. “Seriously though, you should join whichever branch interests you the most, whether it be the Army, Air Force, or Navy.”

There’s no such thing as a Veteran’s Day ceremony without music, and the CHS band took it away with multiple military inspired songs such as TAPS, Retire the Colors, and Prelude and Posting of Colors.

“’Taps’ is a 24-note bugle melody played at U.S. military funerals and memorials and as a lights-out signal to soldiers at night. Its origin dates back to the American Civil War and U.S. General Daniel Butterfield,” Ava Reaves mentioned. “General Butterfield was dissatisfied with the standard bugle call used by the Army to indicate to troops it was time to sleep. He rewrote the existing bugle call to signal the end of the day.”

Cedartown Middle’s 2017 vet ceremony was designed to take the event back to its traditional roots with a more elaborate celebration style.

In recent years, the school focused solely on commemorating the veterans, but Nov. 10, 2017 marked one of the school’s most extravagant ceremonies.