MADISON COUNTY, Ala. -- The Madison County High School JROTC program celebrated veterans Thursday by hosting their annual honor walk and ceremony.
The "Veterans Salute" ceremony is entirely organized by the cadets. Veterans were invited from various community organizations, churches, and family connections to come share stories, have lunch, and socialize with current cadets and students.
Two of the cadets, who happen to be siblings, are graduating next year and are preparing to go into the military themselves. They said knowing the military is in their future makes this celebration significant.
"They gave the ultimate sacrifice to leave their family, kids, to go serve for us to have the freedom we have today, and it's remarkable what they did for us to have freedom," said Senior JROTC Cadet Keirstan Ammerman.
"Knowing what they've done and knowing what I have to go through, it makes me appreciate it a lot more because I know what they've been through, it just makes me appreciate what they've done for us," said Senior JROTC Cadet Shawn Ammerman.
One graduate of Madison County High School, who is currently serving, came back for the ceremony and brought his veteran grandfather with him.
"When I was in high school I was in the program too just like the students are now, and I'd do the same thing they're doing now, and I'd be looking at veterans thinking it's really cool that we honor people who give their lives to fight for this country," said Madison County High School graduate Josh Edwards.
"I get very emotional because I think a lot of people don't appreciate what these guys are going through," said AirForce veteran James Pyszka.
Veterans who attended the ceremony entered through the honor walk, a tradition for the ROTC program, and continued the ceremony with speeches from cadets, a musical salute from the high school band, and a tribute video, all arranged by the cadets.