The annual Veterans Day celebration in Thomson has grown this year thanks to a local school.
In past years, a Veterans Canteen was held at the library, held by the Friends of the Library. A wreath-laying ceremony held by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6672 took place on the McDuffie Courthouse lawn.
Those same events will take place this year, but a new activity has been added. Students of McDuffie Achievement Center will hold a cook-out for veterans at McDuffie Place at Lake Thurmond.
"It's something we want our students to be a part of. As a thank you, they will serve the veterans at McDuffie Place," MAC Counselor Murtavius Miller said.
The events begin at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 11 with the Canteen at the Thomson-McDuffie Library. Veterans will have the chance to visit with one another and share their stories with visitors over coffee and sweet rolls.
"Milton King called and asked if Friends of the Library would be willing to get involved with the VFW and MAC.
So, I thought the more people we can get involved in it, the bigger and better it's going to be, which I think is good," said Jo Montgomery, the president of the Friends of the Library.
After the canteen, everyone will head across the street to the courthouse lawn, for a ceremony in which members of the VFW and ladies auxiliary will place a commemorative wreath.
Members of the Thomson High School JROTC color guard will present the flag.
The group of high school and alternative school students then invite the veterans and their families, along with local dignitaries and members of the community, to McDuffie Place in the Raysville Community on the Lincolnton Highway at noon.
There, a service will be held with Pearl Harbor survivor retired Army Master Sergeant Roger Reid and retired Army First Sergeant Forrest Crutfield as the keynote speakers.
After the service, a lunch of hamburgers and hot dogs will be served by the students.
"It will be educational for our students to learn first hand about their history," Mr. Miller said.
"But it's also a chance to just give back to them and show our appreciation for all our veterans from all parts of the wars."
Mr. Miller said the idea to have the students involved came after conversations between the students and MAC math teacher Randall Walker and resource officer Detrick Jones, both military veterans.
The public is invited to attend every event.
"We want to encourage everybody to come, the whole community is invited," Mrs. Montgomery said.
"It probably won't be as big this year as it will next year, but hopefully it will continue to grow. We'd like to get even more of the community involved in it. I hope it turns out real well."