Students at Aiken High School honored military veterans Friday at their annual Veterans Day ceremony. 

Aiken High School students honored local veterans Friday through songs and salutes at the school's annual Veterans Day ceremony. 

At 2 p.m., students, faculty, city and county officials and veterans packed the school's auditorium. 

Each year, Aiken High's NJROTC students plan and lead the ceremony, said Lt. Tim Marinelli, senior naval science instructor at Aiken High. 

The school's student choir and band performed patriotic songs and the NJROTC led a series of drills in honor of veterans. 

Retired Lt. Colonel Dave Smith, who served 24 years in the United States Marine Corps, was one of the many veterans in attendance. 

Smith said it makes him proud each year to see the students honor veterans. 

"It's nice to see that the kids honor the service," Smith said. "You look around at a lot of places and you wouldn't expect that to be the case. It was very nice to see these young men and women out here today." 

Smith said one of the highlights of the ceremony was when the students students set the POW/MIA table. 


Students set the POW/MIA table in honor of the sacrifice and memory of veterans who have passed. 

The table set for one honors the sacrifice and memory of veterans who have passed. 

The table setting ceremony was followed by a moment of silence and the playing of "Taps."

Dr. Jason Holt said this was his first Veterans Day ceremony as Aiken High principal and was proud to see students honoring veterans.  

"It's pivotal for our school, whether it be our NJROTC program, our choir or our band to are a moment every year to exercise remembrance for our veterans," Holt said. 

The ceremony concluded with the school band playing the anthem of each military branch. Veterans and family members of veterans were invited to stand when their branch's anthem was played. 

As students rushed off to their final classes and NJROTC cadets gathered for photos with veterans, Battalion Commander and Aiken High student Christian Anderson said he was proud of his school coming together to honor those who served. 

"We definitely respect the one who have served our country, the ones that have put their lives on the line to protect our lives, our rights and our freedoms that we have here in the U.S.," Anderson said.