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EPISD celebrates the sacrifice of all U.S. veterans

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EPISD campuses celebrated Veterans Day this week with a variety of activities that paid tribute and thanked the service men and women in the community.

At Milam Elementary, the Austin High School marching band led a parade of students and parents around the neighborhood Thursday to honor moms and dads in the military and soldiers of the U.S. Sergeants Major Academy, the campus’ partner in education. Students waved flags and held up thank you signs and posters with pictures of their deployed parents to honor them for their service. 

“Milam Elementary is 90 percent active duty military,” said principal Wanda Johnson. “They serve for us and fight for us everyday so we need to make sure we honor them and let them know this community supports them, EPISD supports them and Milam supports them.”

Milam, located within the Aero Vista housing community on the Fort Bliss installation, serves a large percentage of students whose parents attend the nearby Sergeants Major Academy.

“It’s important to celebrate Veterans Day because the soldiers sacrifice their lives for our country and protect us and gain our freedoms,” said fifth grader Caizer Abasta, a military family member. 

Students marched to patriotic music and chanted ‘USA USA USA’ during the short parade, walking alongside uniformed parents and soldiers from the Sergeants Major Academy. 

“It’s an enriching experience and a great opportunity to see the enthusiasm of the students,” said Master Sgt. John S. Brown. “Even though some may not fully grasp what they’re marching for today, they’re excited and a lot them are waving and saying ‘thank you.’” 

Brown enjoyed visiting with students during the parade and serving the school as a partner in education. 

“This great to honor vets today and be part of Sergeants Major Academy outreach program with Milam Elementary,” he said. “It’s not only the kids that are paying respect to vets but myself pay respect to those who have served in other wars and campaigns also.”


At Bliss Elementary, activities included Bring a Vet to School Day and a presentation by Sergeants Major Academy soldiers about what it means to be a vet.

“We’re teaching students what the difference is between Veterans Day and Memorial Day,” said Shiela Joplin, Bliss military family liaison. “They now know a vet can be anyone who served in one of the five branches (of military) and Memorial Day honors the people who have passed on in pursuit of protecting our country.”

Story by Renee de Santos
Photos by Leonel Monroy