Students at Zachry Middle School didn't get the day off for Veterans Day but they did take part in a special presentation on campus.

For more than 20 years, the school has acknowledged Veterans Day with a school-wide celebration.

This year, the school's orchestra, band and choir performed.

The guest speaker was Air Force Tech Sgt. Leonard Anderson, a wounded warrior who persevered after being badly injured by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

In July 2012, Anderson said he was searching for bombs with his canine companion, Azzaz, when a bomb detonated.

Azzaz wasn't injured but Anderson had severe damage to his legs and arms, along with a stomach wound and a broken eye socket.

He's since learned to walk again and has adjusted to having a prosthetic limb. He's also become adept at using only the remaining two fingers on his right hand.

He is still active duty, is playing sports again and continues to train with Azzaz. He said he hopes to be an inspiration to the students at Zachry.

"I hope they got the blunt message, which is to be the best you can, no matter what it is. and don't ever let anyone tell you you can't do something. I hope that really sticks and I hope they apply it to everything," said Anderson.

Family members and veterans in the community were encouraged to attend the ceremony.

Retired Master Sgt. Jose Gonzalez said he has attended many of the ceremonies in the past. Gonzalez is a Vietnam veteran served 26 years in the Air Force and two years in the Army.

He first started attending the ceremonies when his children were attending Zachry.

"I enjoy being here. It's beautiful," he said, "I wish more schools would do this, but it's very good."

While honoring veterans, students have the chance to learn the true meaning of Veterans Day.

After the performances, Anderson was presented with gifts, including a T-shirt, a hand-made pen and artwork created by students in the art department.

"It's an honor," said Anderson. "It really kind of blows you away. You wouldn't expect kids at this age to have this much respect."

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