PRC, Picayune high schools prep for veteran celebrations

Published 9:15 am Friday, October 30, 2015

Pearl River Central and Picayune Memorial high schools are gearing up to honor area veterans, and they’re looking for public support.

Both high schools will honor veterans Nov. 6 at their respective campuses, and PMHS is also preparing for their annual Veteran’s Day Parade, although this year’s parade will be Nov. 10, a day before Veteran’s Day.

PRC’s third annual patriotic event will be held on Nov. 6 at the

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high school football field. Gates will open at 8:30 a.m. and the ceremony will begin at 9 a.m.

During the ceremony, faculty, students, community members and veterans will have a chance to pay tribute to America’s brave men and women, Senior Naval Science Instructor Col. Todd Ryder said.

“This is one of our most significant events of the year, certainly of the semester. The significance of it starts with military service,” Ryder said.

The ceremony will include a formal march by the NJROTC and recognition of all five military branches with the presentation of their service colors and anthem. Guests who served or are currently serving will be asked to stand when their branch’s anthem plays.

Toward the end of the ceremony, cadets will conduct a second formal march, where they will salute the veterans.

Local veterans, active service members from the John C. Stennis Space Center and members of the Marine Corps Support Facility in New Orleans are welcome to attend, Ryder said.

The event is free to the public. Each guest will receive a miniature flag and veterans and active service members will receive special mementos from the cadets.

Ryder hopes the stands will be filled to the brim with people who would like to honor the veteran community.

For more information about the event, visit NJROTC’s Facebook page at Pearl River Central High NJROTC.

Picayune Memorial High’s annual event, the Jerry “Chip” Burge Jr. Memorial Armed Forces Reception, will also kick off the morning of Nov. 6. The event is a celebration of local veterans but also an opportunity for high school students to meet with those who have served our country. The reception was organized in 2007 by high school history teacher Allison Wheat, and it’s proven a popular tradition over the year. It is also open to the public.

“Its really big,” said PMHS JROTC Lt. Commander Steve Hardin. “That’s a big to do at the high school. And as in years past, there will also be Civil War re-enactors with a canon out on the practice field.”

The reception will take place from 8:30 a.m. through 2 p.m.

The Nov. 10 parade will be a joint celebration of area veterans between PRC and PMHS, said Hardin.

Hardin said the parade is usually on Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11, but this year the parade was moved up a day due to scheduling conflicts.

“We’re going to have vintage military vehicles,” said Hardin. “We’ll have Picayune and PRC bands and the PRC JROTC and Picayune’s JROTC and various other groups.”

Anyone interested in being in the parade can also participate. “All they need to  do is show up to honor the veterans,” Hardin said.

By Ashley Collins and Jesse Wright