JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ohio (WTRF) – Veterans Day is celebrated on Nov. 11 every year, regardless of the day it falls on.

It is a day when we, as Americans, remember the hardship Veterans went through so that we can live freely.  

7News Reporter Annalise Murphy attended a Veterans Celebration Friday at Harding Middle School, where students celebrated with Veterans.

At Harding Middle School (HMS), students make it a priority to not only remember the sacrifices Veterans made for our freedom, but also honor them.

This year, students invited more than 90 Veterans from all over the nation to their 7th Annual Veterans Day Celebration.

HMS’s Leo’s Club led the celebration Friday morning, which included breakfast, tributes, and a performance of the Star-Spangled Banner by the HMS Jazz Choir.  

Students were asked to invite family, friends, and community members who served in the U.S. Military to interact with students.  

Sixth-grade student Dominic Pietro says it’s important that everyone learns about our nation’s history.  

“I think it’s good because they know someone’s supporting them for the things they did in the wars they fought in it.” 

Dominic Pietro | 6th Grage Student, HMS

Dominic invited a family friend, John Panza of Follansbee, who he says inspires him to be a better man.  

John is a World War II Veteran and says he was drafted into the Army as a young man.  

“I was from one end of the country to the other. I was in the seventh division in combat. I served. Wherever they sent me. They sent me here; they sent me there. And I never complained.” 

John Panza | WWII Veteran

John also celebrated a BIG birthday last week as he turned 102 years young.  

Danielle Kalinowski is a 5th Grade History Teacher and the Leo’s Club advisor at HMS and says the event grows in attendance each year.  

“I think it’s great for the students to hear from the Veterans themselves that their life experiences, they really enjoy hearing this.” 

Danielle Kalinowski | 5th Grade History Teacher, Leo’s Club Advisor at HMS

Mr. and Mrs. Timothy Rock were also at the celebration to honor their son, Nathaniel Rock, who was killed in Iraq in 2005.  

From everyone at WTRF, we want to wish every Veteran a Happy Veterans Day and THANK YOU for your service.