VANCLEAVE, MS (WLOX) - The gym at Vancleave High School was packed today, not for a big game, but for something much bigger.
What better way to begin a veteran's tribute than with a heartfelt high school cheer, a snappy presentation of the colors, and a perfect rendition of the national anthem by the choir.
For student Kelsei Green, and his mother, this day meant more than most. His mother is being deployed.
"My mom, she's been there for me all my life and she's leaving soon and it's hard to see her go but she's serving our country so we can be free, That's all that really matters, Green beamed.
The floor of the gym was a sea of pride and patriotism. It left an impression on everyone, including veteran Carl King. "It gives us hope. It's an inspiration. Helps is to know that America is still strong and well."
The effort from students was not lost on the veterans, or the keynote speaker, Army Sgt. Jackson Jones.
"These are amazing students. I would say maybe 5 or 10 percent have already enlisted into the military or they're thinking about it," Jones exclaimed.
During today's ceremony, the students were ecstatic over the reception they gave the veterans. The veterans were very glad as well.
For the organizer of 16 years, perhaps she feels it the most, simply because Debra Brown has a very personal connection.
"My father, he had war injuries. Because of those injuries, he died of a blood clot and I was six months old at the time, so I really never got to know my father," Brown recalled.
An event like this guarantees the students can separate fact from fiction.
One of them is Taylor Fosby. "I just think that it's amazing. They are true heroes. They're not like Spiderman or Superman, they're true heroes that are real. They are the reason our country is free."
More than 120 veterans were honored today at the school. After the ceremony, they were all treated to refreshments.