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Retired Sgt. Richard Agnew, a Pell City High School JROTC instructor, was the guest speaker at Friday’s Duran South Junior High School Veterans Day Program.


PELL CITY – Duran South Junior High School students recognized and honored those who served to protect our freedom Friday at a special Veterans Day Program.

“We’re here to remember and honor our veterans,” said Duran South Junior High School SGA President Garrett Henderson. “We cannot forget their sacrifices for us.”

About 30 veterans attended Friday’s program and were greeted with thanks for their service to their country.

Pell City High School Junior ROTC instructor retired Sgt. Richard Agnew,  who is an inspirational speaker, was the guest speaker for the one-hour event. The program was followed by a special reception for veterans.

“We’re here today to honor our heroes and to thank them for their sacrifices,” Agnew said.

Agnew served 24 years in the U.S. Army and has been a teacher for the past 14. At one time, he served as a drill sergeant in the U.S. Army. He also served in the Iraq War.

“Service members we honor today come from all walks of life,” Agnew said. But, he said, they share a common bond, possessing courage and a sense of duty to country.

“They chose to protect a nation that has given them so much,” he said. “These are the men and women who answered the call of duty.”

Principal Dr. Cory O’Neal told students he wanted them to always remember the sacrifices “these people have made.”

“I don’t think we can thank you enough for your service and sacrifices,” O’Neal told the veterans in attendance.

The Pell City High School honor guard opened the program by presenting the colors. Throughout the program, the Duran South choir and band sang and played patriotic songs.

Duran South SGA Vice President Emma Gibson led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance, and SGA Secretary Poppy Cooper delivered a devotional reading.

During the ceremony, veterans were recognized by branch of service.

SGA Sen. Conner Johnson talked about the history of Veterans Day, and SGA Treasurer Kennadi Horton spoke about Alabama veterans.

Chloe Ollard and Jillian Taber, SGA senators, provided poetry readings. Garrison Hildebrant told of all the wars America has fought, and Malone Ledlow shared her essay about what freedom meant to her.

“Use your freedom to make the world better,” Ledlow told those in the audience.