DANVILLE — Kenneth D. Bailey Academy plans to honor at least one or possibly more Vermilion County veterans in November who have a decorated military career and a record of solid community service.
This is the sixth year the academy will accept nominations of veterans who not only served the country but had an influence in Vermilion County and on the lives of the residents. Anyone who was active military and volunteers in the community may be nominated for the honor.
“We usually look for one or two new inductees each year,” Principal Mitzi Campbell said.
The inductees will be dedicated on the Wall of Honor at the school on East Main Street. The Wall of Honor is located opposite the Kenneth D. Bailey mural, which recognizes the military valor and honor of Maj. Kenneth D. Bailey, who received the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously for his actions on Guadalcanal during World War II.
Tracy Cherry, who is now the Danville High School principal, originally hatched the idea several years ago for a Wall of Honor. The school recognized three individuals in May, which is when the DHS Salute to Veterans concert used to take place. The date of the concert has changed to Nov. 12 this year to better coincide with Veterans Day.
This year’s Wall of Honor ceremony, which includes an all-school assembly, has been set for 9:30 a.m. Nov. 12 at the Bailey Academy, 502 E. Main St.
In addition to the date of the event, Campbell said other changes are planned to make the event — and the entire month of November — more relevant to the academy’s middle school and high school students.
“This year we’re trying to do something different,” she said. “November will become Red, White and Blue Month at the school, and students will do projects.
“The high school students will write narratives about our school’s namesake, Kenneth D. Bailey, and the middle school students will do projects about Kenneth D. Bailey to make it more relatable to them,” Campbell said.
During the all-school assembly and Wall of Honor ceremony on Nov. 12, the school’s speech students will read the biographies of this year’s inductees and a student, who will be selected through an audition process, will sing the National Anthem.
A field trip to the Vermilion County War Museum also is planned for Nov. 5.
“We hope to partner with the VA so our students can do community service at the end of November,” Campbell said.
“We want to give the kids more knowledge of their school’s namesake as well as pride,” she said. “We want the kids to be more involved.”
The Wall of Honor dedication is open to both men and women from all branches of the service that served proudly and continued to serve as civilians. A committee of educators and community leaders will evaluate this year’s nomination applications.
The committee also goes back and considers the nomination applications from previous years as well. The applications are available at several locations around Danville.
In addition to being honored the morning of Nov. 12 at Bailey Academy, the veterans’ names also will be mentioned during the Salute to Veterans Concert that evening at Danville High School.
Each honoree will have a plaque with his or her photo and information along the side of it hung on the Wall of Honor inside of the school. That way, future generations will understand the pride and respect the county feels for its heroes. The honored veteran also will receive a smaller version of the plaque to take home.