Southeast Salutes Veterans

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Taps is the military salute to the fallen. During a veterans celebration that literally spanned the generations, America's fallen soldiers were remembered at Southeast Lauderdale High School.

More than 75 veterans and their families joined a few hundred high school and elementary students for what organizers say is an annual way to say thank you.

"It's the American way, really. You know, they help and support the country and in return we want them to know that we appreciate it as Americans," said Dwane Taylor, assistant principal at Southeast. "And I just think it helps build the character of the country."

Each veteran in attendance stood, gave his or her name, rank, years and branch of service. More than one veteran thanked the children for the honor.

And as a new war rages in Iraq, a veteran from another war was proud of the liberty he fought to defend.

"So many people paid the supreme price for our freedom and I'm so thankful I'm free," said World War II veteran Russell Camp.

This is the twelfth year Southeast Lauderdale has hosted the veterans celebration. Former principal Algie Davis says the event offers a valuable lesson in freedom.

"The privilege and the honor to go to church to worship God, travel as I see fit, have a home, you know, that's where freedom's at," Davis said. "So we can remain free. If we lose that fact then we lose our freedom."