The special guest for the morning was Capt. Keith Carpenter, who the school adopted as its resident veteran. Carpenter serves with the U.S. Army 256th Combat Support Hospital out of Twinsburg. He has served in the the Army for 22 years and has been deployed to Iraq three times during his career. He returned from the most recent deployment two months ago.
Carpenter is a Girard graduate who later moved to Austintown. During his recent tour in Iraq, he was able to secure an American flag that flew over the base in Alasad Airbase Hospital on May 11, 2011 during Operation New Dawn. He presented the flag and documentation to Woodside on Oct. 24.
Carpenter’s message to the students was all about patriotism.
“We all need to be thankful for the country we live in,” he said. “A lot of people work hard so you kids can go to school.”
He spoke of respecting one another and not becoming a bully. Following his talk, all the students joined Carpenter and Woodside Principal Tim Kelty in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
“The Pledge of Allegiance is about you promising to be true to our country,” Kelty told the students.
After the pledge, the students headed to their classroom, passing a display of the flag Carpenter brought back with him from the base in Iraq.
Before dismissing the assembly, the students all thanked Carpenter and held four posters high in the air that were signed by all the students and staff at the school. Each poster was a show of thanks for veterans and the sacrifice they made for America.
It was a proud moment for Kelty, who had served during 1990-91 in Desert Storm. He was a member of The U.S. Army’s 1st Infantry Division "Big Red One."
Photos by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Capt. Keith Carpenter joins the students on the porch of Woodside Elementary Friday morning to recite the Pledge of Allegiance during their Veterans Day ceremony. The school received a flag that flew over Alasad Airbase in Iraq and flew it for the first time as part of the event.