Honor Tour 2023

Veterans Honor Tour returns to PBHS for send-off ‚Äč
Posted on 09/12/2023
Veterans are escorted out of the PBHS gymnasium.

The Poplar Bluff School District helped to provide area combat veterans a hero’s send-off as a local group was escorted with guardians to Washington, D.C. free of charge to take a three-day tour of the nation’s capital, and visit various memorials.

The PBHS student body hosted an assembly for 30 retired servicemen and women through the Veterans Honor Tour featuring the JROTC, Sho-Me Band, Choir, Cheerleaders and Pom Squad. The charter bus was led off campus by community first responders and a motorcycle convoy as Oak Grove Elementary students held up homemade posters and flags.

Paul Hopkins, who was named director of the John J. Pershing VA Medical Center last year, urged the high schoolers in attendance to reflect on the sacrifices made as the veterans “answered the call of duty to defend our country.” Because of their service, “you have the freedom to pursue education, express your opinion and follow your dreams,” Hopkins said.

In thanking the veterans for serving the “greatest military in the world,” making America the “superpower that it is today,” R-I Superintendent Dr. Aaron Cornman quoted Pres. John F. Kennedy, stating: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” Cornman noted that he understands the sacrifices military families make in service of the country, as the son of a U.S. Army veteran during the Vietnam War. Also sharing how she descended from a “long line of veterans,” Principal Dr. Valerie Ivy helped welcome the esteemed guests, each of whom were given hand-written cards from students.

Of the dozens of sites on the itinerary over the weekend, veterans would go on to visit World War II, Korean and Vietnam memorials, along with the Arlington Cemetery, U.S. Capitol and White House. PBHS last participated in the send-off in 2018, the final year that the Honor Tour was led by founder Rob Callahan, who in 2007 brought the initiative to Poplar Bluff after learning about a comparable nonprofit called Honor Flight. It is the fifth year past participant and Vietnam War veteran Jerry Sneathern has taken over organizing the Veterans Honor Tour for the community.

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Cutline: Veterans are escorted out of the PBHS gymnasium to enter their charter bus and participate in the Veterans Honor Tour on Friday, Sept. 8.

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