Students at Hilliard City Schools' Britton Elementary School honored 35 veterans – many of whom were the parents or grandparents of students – during a Veterans Day celebration at the school Nov. 11.

Britton was one of many schools that honored veterans in one way or another, said Stacie Raterman, the district's director of communications who also emceed Britton's program.

Among the veterans who represented all five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and the National Guard was 94-year-old Hilliard resident Bill Siebert, the only U.S. Coast Guard veteran at the ceremony.

He also was the only World War II veteran.

Siebert received a standing ovation not only from the Britton staff members but also from the other veterans, as they introduced themselves and their connection, if applicable, to the school.

Siebert said he served in the Coast Guard from 1944 to 1949 on the USS Aquarius, an attack cargo ship, spending most of the time in the south Pacific Ocean.

"I was in heart of the ship," Siebert said, working in the engine room of the ship.

Though not on board at the time, the USS Aquarius delivered "war dogs," canines used on the island of Guam to find the enemy, Siebert said.

Jessica Higden attended the ceremony to represent her late husband, Gerald, who died in October 2018 from cancer at age 39.

"(Gerald) was here every year," Higden said.

Higden has twins – a son and a daughter – in the seventh grade and a son, Lewis, in kindergarten at Britton.

"(The twins) always enjoyed seeing their father here on Veterans Day. ... I didn't want Lewis to miss out," Higden said.

Another veteran traveled from the central Iowa city of Newton to attend the ceremony.

Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Marty Ford, 75, with her grandchildren, Elizabeth and William Grannan, both students at Britton, placed a ceremonial wreath at the conclusion of the ceremony.

Britton has held a Veterans Day program for about the past dozen years, said teacher Tim Wood.

Wood said it was instituted when the late Robert Spicer became principal at Britton after starting a program at Scioto Darby Elementary School, where he also served as principal.

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