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      Bessemer students honor veterans

      It's a tradition that honors local vets, and it has been going on for more than 20 years. Hundreds filled the stands at Bessemer High School gym for the annual Veterans Day program.

      Ninety-four-year-old Marie Kovacevich was one of many veterans at the ceremony.

      "I served in Vietnam, and when I came back, it wasn't the same. That is why I really appreciate all the efforts everybody makes to put these programs on," said Kovacevich.

      The high school band spent the last two weeks preparing for this day. Band member Derek Gheller has participated in the program for several years now.

      "It's great because I am here in this country, the way I am today, because of our veterans. We would not have this school if it wasn't for them," said Gheller.

      During the program, they played several patriotic songs to honor vets. The band also presented each branch of the Armed Forces with their own military salute.

      Steve Boniface, Band Director, says it is also about teaching students to learn to appreciate all that our Armed Forces have done for the U.S.

      "The veterans, I can see the smiles on their faces when kids sing, and I think it brings a tear to everyone's eye. It makes us proud to have such a supportive community for our veterans," said Boniface.

      Kids from Washington Elementary School showed their appreciation by singing from the stands.

      The program ended with roll call and ringing of the bell for all veterans that have passed away. Guests stood by for a moment of silence.

      For Captain Joseph Martell, he says it is wonderful to see the appreciation from the community.

      "It's a great thing these kids get to learn what it's all about," said Martell.