Associate Editor, The Martin Post
Dresden Middle School hosted their 22nd Annual Veterans Day Parade Friday, Nov. 10 to a great turnout. According to DMS Principal David Lewellen, Dresden Middle School first started having a Veteran’s Day Program in 2001. The program was inside the gym, and they had a brunch reception for the Veterans and their guests following the program.
Lewellen said that over the years, they have had guest speakers, and sometimes they have had some type of presentation such as the Changing of the Guard Rifle Presentation performed by Former Weakley County Public Defender Joe Atnip.
Lewellen said that changed from an inside program to a parade because of Covid restrictions a few years ago. They have contemplated when to return to an inside program, but based on feedback from local Veterans, they like the Parade. With the parade, they are able to let the elementary school participate as well as the middle school. If Veterans have a relative or family friend who attends the school, they have that student help escort the Veterans through the parade. A goodie bag is provided to the Veterans and each classroom has an item they place into the bag as they travel the parade route.
“Dresden Middle School is thankful for all our Veterans and the accomplishments and sacrifices they have made to protect and defend our country,” Lewellen stated.
Thomas said that in the beginning, the Student Council put on the program and hosted Veterans for an assembly in the gym. The Student Council would plan guest speakers, have special music, and let the Veterans introduce themselves to the students. After the program, the Veterans would attend a breakfast, so they could visit with family, friends, and the students. However, during COVID and visitor restrictions, Dresden Middle School still wanted to honor the Veterans. The BETA Club, sponsored by Jamie Rickman, took over the honor of showing appreciation for the Veterans and “The Parade of Veterans” began.
Thomas said that before Veterans Day each year, each homeroom is asked to provide a small treat for each Veteran. The Veteran and their families stay in their car, a student makes a poster announcing who the Veteran is and escorts the Veteran around the front of the school as the Veteran drives behind them. A student in each homeroom steps out and gives the Veteran a treat to add to their goodie bag. The sidewalks are lined with students clapping, holding signs of appreciation, and telling the Veterans thank you for your service.
“This year, 27 Veterans participated in the parade, 6 goodie bags were delivered to Veterans at the local nursing home, 5 goodie bags were delivered to Veterans at Dresden High School, and the remaining goodie bags were delivered to the American Legion that were distributed to Veterans,” Thomas said.
This year’s event was coordinated by Brittany Forester, Elementary BETA Club sponsor, Junior BETA Club sponsors, and the BETA Club.