Never too young to be a patriot - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Never too young to be a patriot

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Orr Elementary School had a few special guests Friday morning.

Ken Hackney served as a Chief Warrant Officer 2nd class in the U.S. Army. He is now the State Commander for Disabled American Veterans and was more than happy to speak to students about his experience.

"I want you to know that we all did it and we did it for your because we love you. The welcome you gave us today is payment enough for what we've done because you have shown us that you care for your veterans," Hackney says.

The well deserved warm welcome he received at Orr Elementary is something quite different from what he received years ago.

"I was a Vietnam veteran and when we came home we didn't get a welcome. We were unable to wear our uniform down the street without getting mugged or getting spit at," he says.

Hackney believes by sharing his story with children, he can help make sure today's veterans are treated with the respect they deserve.

"It's important to me that our veterans coming home now are welcomed with open arms by the American public and see the children want to be part of veterans, it does my heart good," he says.

Third-grader Malik Ray, is one student who has a great appreciation for veterans, something his grandfather helped him understand at a young age.

"I want him to understand the privilege we have to live in America and also I instilled in him the duty to our country," says Veteran Ralph Caraway, Malik's grandfather.

Malik says having his grandfather attend the assembly makes it just that much more special.

"It's Veteran's Day and I want him to be respected and I'm glad that he served our country," Malik says.

A little boy who is not too young to understand or develop the same love his grandfather has for our country.

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