HEMPHILL, TX (KTRE) - The Hemphill Independent School District honored their veterans with an annual Veterans Day celebration. This year, for the first time ever, the program recognized the 90,000 military service members who went missing in action.
[endif]A sea of red, white, and blue filled the Hemphill ISD gymnasium to pay tribute to local veterans.
"I think it is a great way to say thank you to our veterans who are so deserving," said Reese Briggs, Hemphill ISD's superintendent.
Students and staff put in countless hours to make today possible.
"Our teachers all try to pitch in at every grade level, and everybody adds something to our Veterans Day program every year," said Marc Griffin, the Hemphill High School principal.
Hemphill ISD recognized the family of MIA military service member Leroy Alert Hill. Leroy has been missing since March 4, 1952 after being sent to combat in Korea.
His older brother Austin, who is the last living sibling of the Hill family and his wife Mary, spoke to KTRE.
The couple said they're still in disbelief that Leroy has been missing for so long.
"It was devastating.He was the baby of the family," Mary said. "He wasn't in service very long before they shipped him overseas. It was quite a shock."
Today's program brought some people to tears. From heartwarming speeches, to standing ovations, the Hill family said this program brought about a strong feeling of pride to say the least.
"We are honored that the school opened up their facilities and all of the wonderful children that sang," Mary said.
The Hill family described this event recognizing their lost loved one as something that's unforgettable.
"It's the best thing that could happen to us before we die," Mary said jokingly.
This year's theme was "one nation." After the event, veterans and their families received a free lunch at the VFW in Sabine County.