Raucous cheers of "U.S.A!" could be heard at Fort Belvoir Elementary School as hundreds of students greeted visiting veterans Friday morning.
Take a Veteran to School Day connects veterans with students in a special celebration of veterans. The program is a joint public outreach effort with History Channel, Cox Communications, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Rear Admiral Richard A. Buchanan of the U.S. Navy (Ret.) joined veterans in telling their stories to students. Ninety-eight percent of students attending Fort Belvoir Elementary School have parents who are serving in the military.
Bonnie Rice of Alexandria is a World War II veteran who participated in Take a Veteran to School Day. She served with the WAVES as a 2nd Class radioman from 1943 until the war ended in 1945. Her three brothers also served in various branches of the military during the war.
Rice took a job at Fort Belvoir with the Corps of Engineering. Her husband also served in the military as an engineer with the Army Infantry. Rice discovered Take a Veteran to School Day through her pastor, and she signed up to participate and share her story with students during Friday's program.
"I think it's a great program," Rice commented.
After the veterans visited students in their classrooms, veterans, teachers, and members of the Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce reassembled for the Community Covenant Signing Ceremony in the Library. The Community Covenant recognizes the partnership between Fort Belvoir and the Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce.