Konzen, a retired principal at the Marist School in Atlanta, mingled with the students as he explained the importance of the Lateran Basilica and then took time to talk about the importance of veterans.
"Today is the day when we honored the most sacred church in the Catholic church, the actual building," Bishop Konzen. Students made a number of guesses, including St. Peter's, before one of the youngster finally shouted St. John Lateran.
Later during his Homily, Konzen told the students there is close to 640,000 military veterans in Georgia. One by one, the students gathered in the gym at St. Mary's Catholic School rattled off the names of the different branches of the military, even remembering the Merchant Marines.
"One out of every 15 people you run into here in Georgia has already served in the military, and I'm guessing that some of you here at St. Mary's will be doing that one day, too," Konzen said.
Principal Melissa Reder told her students that she thinks of all veterans are "real life super heroes." Addressing the more than two dozen veterans in the crowd, Reder said, "You put your life on the line for our freedom."
Linda Liles, representing Congressman Tom Graves, echoed Reder's position, telling the youngsters, "When you look for heroes, don't look for stars in Hollywood, the heroes are our veterans."
She presented the school with a new flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 17 to honor the day St. Mary's School was founded in 1945. Jim Hudson, a veteran, and grandfather of a student accepted the flag for the school and Marine Corps veterans Troy Bolt, Tom Beavers and Hal Gosnell helped raise the new flag outside the school to conclude the service.