About 300 veterans were treated to breakfast, music, and a very special thank you from the students. Vets got a special treat at breakfast as Gautier High students took them back to a different time with some old style tunes. Harry Durden, a WWII veteran, says, “I served oversees for three years. I was in England, France, and Germany.”
John Hoffman, a Vietnam War veteran, says, “This is my sixth year coming to the breakfast and I think it’s good that all of the retired and ex veterans can get together and they honor them. They’ve done a great thing here.”
Paul Norvell, a retired drill sergeant, says, “Because of us, they have their freedom. Without us, they wouldn’t have their freedom.”
After breakfast, the veterans were led to the gymnasium and were greeted by excited students. Monday’s special guest speaker was a 2006 Gautier High graduate and retired Marine sergeant, Anthony McDaniel. While serving in Afghanistan in 2010, an explosion took both of McDaniel’s legs, along with his left hand. McDaniel says, “I can’t be happier than to be back in my home state, home city, and be given this chance to speak.”
McDaniel thanked the students for honoring veterans like him and returned the favor with some wise words. McDaniel closes, “I know you all deal with things on a daily basis, but you got to think about where you started from to where you are at. You already came a long way, so there is never a reason to give up now.”
The Veterans Day event isn’t just about students paying their respects to the veterans. It’s opportunity to learn why the vets deserve the respect. This was the 15th year Gautier High school put on breakfast for the veterans.