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Local students salute our veterans

Holy Spirit Regional Catholic School in Huntsville honored more than 70 local veterans at its 7th annual Salute Our Veterans program on Nov. 8. Since 2017, the school has invited current and former service members who are connected to students and staff of the school, as well as parishioners from Holy Spirit Catholic Church and Good Shepherd Catholic Church, to share in this event. The theme of the program was “The Archangels.” Just as the archangels are our Heavenly guardians, our American servicemen and women are our guardians on earth

The morning began with Principal Vince Aquila introducing each veteran by rank and branch of service. Students escorted their military veteran through a Knights of Columbus Honor Guard tunnel and to their seats. Student members of American Heritage Girls #7361 posted the colors and Vice Principal Therese Welsey sang the National Anthem. After a prayer by longtime pastor Father Mike Mac Mahon, everyone observed a moment of silence for service members who are or were prisoners of war or missing in action, and a beautiful rendition of Taps was played by St. John Paul II Catholic High School student James Possel to remember our fallen service members.

The guest speakers were a dual-military married couple from Redstone Arsenal, active-duty Colonels Elizabeth and Aaron Martin. They gave an informative and engaging speech to Holy Spirit students, in which they relayed that while 12% of Americans served in the armed forces during World War II, only .4% of Americans serve today.

In honor of this year’s theme, Holy Spirit students dressed as the Archangels Gabriel, Raphael and Michael educated the crowd about the archangels and led those assembled in prayer. The program closed with the youngest Holy Spirit Tigers (pre-k, kindergarteners, and first graders) marching to each of the six branch songs, accompanied by music teacher John Onder and members of Spirit Fuel, the school choir. Veterans were invited to stand and sing along when their branch song was sung.

Holy Spirit Regional Catholic school was honored to recognize and thank local veterans with its Salute Our Veterans program. To all who have served, we salute you!