BELPRE - Veterans from the Belpre community gathered for two ceremonies in their honor at Belpre City schools Friday.
Because schools are closed for the observed holiday Monday, the district's schools chose to hold their ceremonies early.
"Veterans Day is not just a day to honor veterans, but to honor all Americans," said Nathan Greene, a Belpre resident and recent U.S. Army veteran of Afghanistan. "It's not just men we think about when we think of our military heroes, but all who serve and are willing to sacrifice for the country they love."
Greene spoke at both the Belpre Elementary School morning program and the afternoon's more somber ceremony at Belpre High School.
"It went wonderfully," said elementary school principal Joy Edgell.
More than 40 local veterans from conflicts including World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm and the most recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, attended the elementary school program.
There are approximately 6,400 veterans serviced by the Washington County Veterans Service Office.
There are nearly 900,000 veterans in Ohio.
Of Ohio veterans, 648,884 are wartime veterans and 250,731 are peacetime veterans.
Ohio has 827,575 male veterans and 72,040 female veterans.
Source: Washington County Veterans Service Office and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
During the hour-long morning ceremony the students in kindergarten, first and second grades sang and the program ended with a standing ovation for the veterans.
"I had several positive comments from the veterans who attended," Edgell said. "It was a lovely day."
Roughly 30 veterans, many the same people, attended the high school's program at 2 p.m. where Greene asked those who served in conflicts to stand and be recognized. At that time, veterans from the wars listed stood and were honored by the community members, school staff and students.
The high school ceremony included musical selections by the band and choirs, which ended with a performance of "Taps" by student Ryan Epperly.
"Now will be the time for the 9-11 generation to stand up and play a pivotal role of growing America," Greene told the high school crowd. "Just like the greatest generation did.
"We are a people who have overcome the world's most evil men," he said. "We are a country that always does what is necessary to make our country better and this is what a veteran is."