When Hurricane Ida brought torrential rains to our area early this past week, organizers of Augusta's Veterans Day events threw in the towel.
Their cancellations knocked out the city's annual Veterans Day parade, along with observances planned at city monuments and the Riverwalk Amphitheater.
That meant all those Richmond County school children with Veterans Day as a holiday had only one way to participate in a Veterans Day program (if they were so inclined): By visiting Columbia County schools.
Each year, critics complain when Columbia County schools stay open for Veterans Day even as many county offices, businesses and banks close. Augusta schools shut down, they say; shouldn't Columbia County schools take the holiday, too?
All it took was a day's worth of showers to pour cold water on that idea. While Richmond County students were enjoying a rainy-day sleep-in, at least 19 Columbia County schools were holding Veterans Day programs.
Those included breakfasts with veterans at River Ridge and Bel Air elementary schools, a patriotic performance by the Lakeside High show choir at Blue Ridge Elementary, and Grovetown High School's participation in the city's community program. Evans Middle School's poignant event included a tribute to the family of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Justin DeCrow, one of the victims of the Fort Hood shootings and father of an Evans Middle student.
Veterans Day events weren't limited to just Nov. 11; school programs were scattered throughout the week, culminating in Harlem Middle School's celebration Friday featuring a Medal of Honor winner.
While these events were taking place during the school day here in Columbia County, the closest many Augusta students likely came to a Veterans Day observance was playing a war-simulation video game.
School officials here each year take undeserved heat for keeping the schools open on Veterans Day. It would be easy for them to just cave in to the handful of critics and shut down schools on that day. Instead, they know closing the schools would deprive thousands of students of the opportunity to participate in a celebration of Veterans Day.
Rain or shine.
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