To remember sacrifices the nation's soldiers made, many veterans groups and schools throughout the Aiken-Augusta area will celebrate Veterans Day with a rash of patriotic events Thursday.
Organizers say they hope local festivities will recapture old patriotism Americans felt as the world rejoiced when an armistice was signed ending World War I in 1918.
In 1954, Congress changed the name of the holiday marking the event from Armistice Day to Veterans Day in honor of all U.S. soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen of all wars.
"I do feel like there is some patriotism being revived in this country," said Nat Wolfe, committee chairman for North Augusta American Legion Post 71 and a Korean War veteran. "This year is special because it's the last Veterans Day of the 20th century."
Bands and choruses will perform. Wreaths will be laid by local veterans groups at the legion's annual service at 11 a.m. at Wade Hampton Veterans Park.
In Augusta, activities include a parade on Broad Street and a ceremony for veterans and civic groups in the area at Veterans Monument at Fourth and Broad streets.
Legion member and World War II veteran Bill Burriss said he thought schools should be closed in honor of the holiday memorializing so many Americans who fought and died in battle.
"Young people growing up should have an opportunity to participate in this holiday," he said. "We should extend gratitude to those who served to save and protect this country."
W.E. Parker Grammar School fifth-grade teacher Gene Bush is doing his best to remind students of the importance of Veterans Day by organizing a special performance. He said he hopes pupils will learn more about the history-filled holiday by making the experience fun.
"Fun music really gets kids excited and involved in learning the history of the holiday," he said. "We want them to know people gave their lives for freedom's sake."
The public is invited to attend Veterans Day events Thursday:
11 a.m.: North Augusta American Legion Post 71 Veterans Day Service, Wade Hampton Veterans Park, 300 block of Georgia Avenue.
9 a.m. and 1 p.m.: W.E. Parker Grammar School Veterans Day Program, 41 Crest Road, Edgefield, S.C.
7 p.m.: Horse Creek/Midland Valley Veterans Park Candlelight Ceremony, Highway 421 at Anthony Drive, Burnettown
5:10 p.m.: Aiken County Marine Corps League Veterans Day Candlelight Vigil, Aiken County Veterans Memorial Park, 1500 block of Richland Avenue East next to Agricultural Services Center.
Veterans Day events Friday:
9 a.m.: Jefferson Elementary School Veterans Day Program, 170 Flint Drive, Bath.
In Augusta on Thursday:
9 a.m.: Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home, 1101 15th St. Augusta Congressman Charlie Norwood is slated to speak at the morning courtyard ceremony. Performances by the U.S. Signal Corps Band and Butler High School drill team will be part of the ceremony.
10 a.m.: Veterans Day parade begins on Broad Street.
11 a.m.: Veterans Day ceremony for veterans and civic groups in the Augusta area will be held at Veterans Monument at Fourth and Broad streets.
1 p.m.: The Richmond County Historical Society to hold a ceremony at Heroes' Overlook on Augusta Riverwalk at 10th Street.
Reach Katie Throne at (803) 279-6895 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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