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Veterans offer a living history lesson at Ellicott City school

Veterans Elementary School Principal Robert Bruce welcomes students, staff, veterans and honored guests to Friday's ceremony.
Veterans Elementary School Principal Robert Bruce welcomes students, staff, veterans and honored guests to Friday's ceremony.(Jess Nocera/BSMG)

Ron Conran served in the Navy during the Korean War and for the past five years has attended Veterans Elementary School’s Salute to Veterans.

“It’s almost a tradition with me,” the Ellicott City resident said.

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Conran, a member of the VFW Post 7472 in Ellicott City, was among the 25 veterans honored at school’s 11th annual ceremony on Friday.

The 2018 Veterans Day Parade and Ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 11 at Merriweather Drive and Little Patuxent Parkway, across from the MedStar Health building.

Almost all of Conran’s 19 grandchildren attended or are students at the Ellicott City school.

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Veterans Day is Sunday, and this year marks the 100th anniversary of when the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month brought an end to The Great War, also known as The War to End All Wars and World War I.

In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11 as “Armistice Day,” and Veterans Day became a legal holiday on May 13, 1938, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Veterans Elementary opened in 2007 and sits on land the county purchased from Post 7472.

That’s how Veterans Elementary got its name, said Post Commander Christopher Bowers.

Bowers, who served in the Marine Corps for nine years, said post members enjoy taking part in the ceremony.

Veterans Geoffrey Frost (far left), Ron Conran (left) and Jason Franklin (right) attended the Veterans Elementary School ceremony Friday morning where their grandchildren have either gone or are students at the school.
Veterans Geoffrey Frost (far left), Ron Conran (left) and Jason Franklin (right) attended the Veterans Elementary School ceremony Friday morning where their grandchildren have either gone or are students at the school.(Jess Nocera / BSMG)

Veterans had a chance to sit down, and swap old war stories with each other over coffee and breakfast in the school’s library.

Students left handwritten thank-you notes and acrostic poems with the word “Veteran” on the library’s bookshelves. In the poems, students wrote words such as “American,” “Very brave,” “Earned medals,” “They’re fearless,” and “Never give up.”

During the ceremony, the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps from Howard High School performed the presentation of colors, the l elementary school orchestra performed “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the band ensemble performed “My Country, ’Tis of Thee,” and schools Superintendent Michael Martirano and state Sen. Gail Bates spoke.

 
(Jess Nocera/BSMG)

James Franklin, of Columbia, served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War.

Wearing an Air Force button-down shirt, Franklin attended Friday’s ceremony because of his three grandchildren that attend Veterans Elementary.

“It’s important they [the students] understand that the U.S. did not get to be this way by accident, a lot of people took part in it and a lot of people died,” Franklin said.

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