At a ceremony Monday, members of the Bay High ROTC hoisted the world's most recognized flag, as the school's marching band solemnly performed our National Anthem.
"Today we say 'thank you' to all veterans they have made our country what it is today - a safe place for us to live and raise our families. So today, to them, we say 'God bless you,'" said Marlene Johnson with American Legion Post 139.
A ceremonial wreath laying emphasized her point. It was also a chance for Post 139 to honor 13 of their members who died during the year.
"Anytime during the months that we have a member that is deceased, we'll hold a small post everlasting," Post Commander George Piazza said.
They, along with the 48 million people who have served or are currently serving in our nation's armed forces, were saluted for their many sacrifices, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
"I think we are all glad to have these people who are willing to lay down their lives to protect the freedom of this country and its interests," said USO Gulf Coast Director DeAnna Attaway.
And for the students who took part in the ceremony, it was an eye opening experience.
"These aren't just everyday, ordinary, regular people. What they've done for us is much more than just getting a job and being successful. They fought for what we do have now. Without them, I wouldn't be standing here talking to you," Bay High band member Larry Carter said.
Bay High dance team member Breanna Hart said, "To participate in this, I'm honored."
Organizers of the ceremony say getting the youth involved helps teach them respect for war veterans and the country in which they are privileged to live.