HOULKA – Houlka Attendance Center youngsters didn’t let the threat of rainy weather stop them from recognizing area veterans on Tuesday, Nov. 11.

Veterans from various branches of the military gathered for a noon lunch in their honor at the Houlka United Methodist Fellowship Hall.

About 30 meals of hamburger steak, gravy, baked potatoes, green beans, cookies, rolls and iced tea were prepared by HAC head cook April Haley.

Said Child Nutrition Director Cindy Moore: “We enjoyed the privilege of serving the veterans and they certainly seemed to enjoy the meal.”

Chickasaw County School Superintendent Dr. Betsy Collums and Attendance Center Principal Willie Mounce said they were well-satisfied with the turnout, which included several veterans from World War II as well as more recent wars and conflicts.

“There were less than we’ve had in previous years, but considering the threatening weather and chance of rain, we were pleased with the level we had.

“We always enjoy the event each year and we hope the students learn from it. They need to learn the sacrifices men and women have made for our freedom,” Dr. Collums said.

Following the luncheon, there was to be a parade at 12:45 p.m. on the street between the Baptist church and the Houlka Methodist Church, with kindergarten through 6th grade youngsters taking part.

Due to the iffy weather, the parade was moved indoors to the new school building. With the veterans lined up in a hallway, the youngsters paraded by.

Many of the youngsters carried flags, and thanked the veterans for their service. Many presented them with hand-made mementoes and messages in appreciation of their service.

The handwritten messages were touching. Wrote Keriella Reeves: “Thank you for saving our country.” In another message, Piper Wilson put it this way: “Thank you for fighting for our freedom. Since you fought for our freedom we can do fun things like cheer, basketball, baseball and softball. Thank you for risking your life for us.”

Said one veteran, an ex-Marine who served in Vietnam, “I was touched that the children took the time to do this, and gave us hand-made expressions of their appreciation for our service. Our children really are our future, and we were privileged to stand up for them and the nation.”

A list of veterans attending included the following names, according to a sign-in sheet: James P. Clark, Hank Wiesner, DeWayne Warren, David E. Huffman, Wayne Clark, Jim Denton, Clarence E. Chandler, Sr., Ronald Paden, James Webb, Kevin Burdine, Robert Webb, Jerry Hall, Thomas Brown, Danny Wright, Tommy Washington, and Thomas Dean Washington.

The Attendance Center has held the veterans recognition event for many years, school officials said this week.

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