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Cape schools mark Veterans Day early

By Staff | Nov 12, 2009

Cape Coral schools and the Lee County School District celebrated Veteran’s Day with school ceremonies and the Seventh Annual Pride and Patriotism Concert.
Gulf Middle School hosted its 15th Annual Veteran’s Day Observance. Students sat in the front of the school Tuesday as two original poems were read, as well as the president’s proclamation and a brief history of “Taps.”
Lt. Col. Jim Spieth, a retired teacher from Gulf Middle, has organized the observance since it first began.
“We recognized all of the veterans that were there,” he said. “We had a table to represent the Prisoners of War and Missing in Action, right in front of the lectern.”
Student musicians performed “Taps,” and Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott presented Civil Air Patrol Cadet Corey Leppeimeir with the Mitchell Award for completing all of the requirements to be a cadet officer.
Spieth said that even though he is retired, he plans on organizing the event next year.
On Tuesday night, the Lee County School District hosted the Seventh Annual Pride and Patriotism Concert, a local celebration of the arts and veterans, at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall at Edison State College.
Local students produce original poems and works of art that are judged and exhibited at the concert.
Raymond Buck, a local poet and playwright, judged the poetry portion of the contest and contemporary arts pioneer Marcus Antonius Jansen judged the works of art.
Both men are veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.
World War II veteran Don Tallon, commander of the Collier Chapter Ex-Prisoners of War, addressed the audience and explained the Missing Man Table Ceremony.
“I was a POW of war in Germany in 1944 and 1945,” he said. “I returned and many of my brothers did not. The missing cannot share this evening with us.”
Vietnam veteran Jack Wagner hosted the concert alongside JROTC Cadet Deputy Brigade Commander Senada Bajraktarevic from South Fort Myers High. The school’s JROTC cadets presented the colors.
Wagner also asked the audience to have a moment of silence in honor of the 13 killed and 52 injured during the recent Fort Hood shooting in Texas.
For the first time local government agencies issued proclamations in support of the Pride and Patriotism Concert, including the city of Cape Coral, city of Fort Myers, Lee County Board of County Commissioners, town of Fort Myers Beach, city of Sanibel and city of Bonita Springs.
Traditional violinists Ji-Hyun Kim and Alex Smith performed a touching version of “Amazing Grace.”