One prominent Tennessee politician went out of his way to support local US veterans at a Cleveland middle school. State Senator Mike Bell took time out of his busy schedule to present the Ocoee Middle School with a special American flag. This flag will now fly in the school’s “Freedom Circle” courtyard, which is dedicated to honoring US veterans.
The Ocoee Middle School has been working on the “Freedom Circle” project since 2013. Located right by the school’s main entrance, this courtyard is filled with flags for all of the American military branches. The North Cleveland Baptist Church donated most of the flags to Ocoee Middle School.
Bell said that all legislators working for Bradley County were honored to donate this new American flag to Ocoee Middle. A few other prominent politicians who made this donation possible include State Representative Kevin Brooks and State Senator Todd Gardenhire.
After Bell presented the new flag, Ocoee Middle’s Principal Ron Spangler took a few moments to recognize a local Vietnam veteran. Spangler donated a flag to Donald Harris, a former US Navy member who served in the Vietnam War.
Harris, who has two grandchildren that attend Ocoee Middle, was thankful for the acknowledgement. Although Harris is proud of his achievements, he said there are many other veterans deserving of even more praise across the nation.
Visitors to the “Freedom Circle” can check out various bricks just below the flags. Each of the bricks has names of local veterans on them. Anyone can purchase a brick for a small donation of $40.
Besides the impressive courtyard, Ocoee Middle hosts numerous events throughout the year to honor veterans in Tennessee. One of these events is the annual Veterans Day breakfast.
Bell said it’s extremely important for schools to organize assemblies to teach children about the sacrifices made by our veterans. While most people just think of veterans as older men and women, Bell also noted that numerous military personnel leave the service everyday across the nation. Some of these veterans are only in their 20s or 30s. Bell hopes events like the one at Ocoee Middle will continue to inspire everyone to help our veterans adjust to civilian life.