Veterans Day 2021

Students display patriotism during Veterans Day Parade
Posted on 11/17/2021
Robert Thacker

The Poplar Bluff Middle School campus was lined with more than 1,000 cheering students holding small flags and homemade signs as 25-30 vehicles entered the annual Veterans Day Parade held Thursday, Nov. 11, along Victory Lane.

Participating student groups helping to express gratitude from across the district included over 100 High School JROTC cadets, the Sho-Me Marching Band, Junior High Pom Squad, and Middle School Safety Patrol plus the Honor Choir.

“I like that students are part of the celebration, instead of just spectators; they are participants,” said Dr. Josh Teeter, Middle School principal. “If you don’t make it a big deal, it’s not a big deal.”

The Middle School has a rich tradition of hosting a Veterans Day Assembly dating back to 1997, when it was the 5th & 6th Grade Center. In response to the pandemic, the parade concept was instituted last year in place of an indoor program, and the looser format has worked well for the grade span.

Teeter noted that since students have not yet covered the military conflicts in American history, a more “reverent” event is better suited for older students. He says there is a place for a “somber, more solemn” observance, and he appreciates both tones, but allowing the youth to be outside and “hoot and holler” offers something different to other public ceremonies servicemen and women may attend throughout the day.

The annual event is organized by the Middle School Counseling Department, who reach out to the John J. Pershing VA Medical Center, the VFW and the American Legion, as well as local veterans with family ties to the student body. “It’s definitely a community effort, and we just like to be a part of it,” Teeter continued.

External organizations involved this year included the Marine Corps League, Three Rivers Shrine Club, Poplar Bluff Police and Fire departments, Butler County Sheriff’s Office, and classic car enthusiasts in coordination with Hefner Furniture. State Rep. Hardy Billington of Poplar Bluff also joined the parade, having served in the Army National Guard.

The event kicked off with the Honor Choir, directed by vocal music teacher Tim Fain, performing “In Service Of Our Country” via Facebook Live so school patrons can also be a part of the special occasion.

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Cutline: U.S. Navy veteran Robert Thacker, who fought in the Battle of Leyte Gulf during World War II, is escorted through the Veterans Day Parade at the Poplar Bluff Middle School.

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