Communities across North Texas celebrated those who have served for Veterans Day.

Col. James E. Ray, a decorated veteran of the U.S. Air Force and former prisoner of war, visited Melissa High School on Nov. 7 to speak to students in the junior and senior classes.

At halftime of Melissa High’s last district football game on Nov. 8, the Mighty Cardinal Band and the Panther Band from North Lamar performed together in a Veterans Day show honoring military veterans.

In Anna, the school district hosted a series of Veterans Day programs on Monday and Tuesday with a reception following each. Harlow Elementary and Bryant Elementary each welcomed veterans on Monday and Rattan Elementary did the same on Tuesday.

In Melissa last week, Ray spoke about his experience as prisoner of war during the late 1960s and early 1970s. He shared how Henry Ross Perot and Harry E. McKillop impacted his life and the lives of countless others. McKillop is the namesake of Harry McKillop Elementary, which many students in the audience attended in elementary school.

“Whenever someone is being mistreated and you have an opportunity to volunteer to take an action that will make a difference, as Harry McKillop and Ross Perot did, I want you to be willing to do that,” Ray said.

Following the presentation, students were invited to ask questions and Ray responded with more insight into his military career.

Col. James E. Ray was introduced by junior Thad Baker. McKillop’s wife and fellow Air Force veteran, Rebecca S. McKillop was also in attendance. The presentation was organized by Julie Wooten, Academic Dean of Social Studies at Melissa High School.

Van Alstyne Middle School’s annual Veterans Day program saw a big crowd gather for the Monday morning event that was hosted by the seventh grade class.

“Our 7th grade students did a great job of hosting and running the event and hopefully made our veterans know how much we appreciate their sacrifice,” Van Alstyne Independent School District officials posted on Facebook.

Just north of Van Alstyne, Howe High School also had a healthy turnout for its annual Veterans Day assembly.

Grayson College celebrated Veterans Day with a reception Monday morning at its Life Center outside the Veterans Hub with guest speaker Col. Dale Howard, who works with the Perrin Air Force Base Museum.

On the subject of the college’s Wall of Honor, Grayson College Veteran’s Services Coordinator Craig Greenwood read a proclamation issued by the Grayson County Commissioners Court to Mary Day for her work with the Wall of Honor.

The Wall of Honor will be on display at Grayson College on the second floor of the Life Center building at Grayson college until after Thanksgiving. Greenwood said it doesn’t currently have a permanent home. It moves around where needed.

Last month, it was on display at the Eisenhower Birthplace as part of Eisenhower’s 125th birthday celebration.

“It makes me proud to see all these other veterans here — to see they all live on,” Greenwood said. “It is a good thing for the county to have this archive.”

Those interested in submitting photos to the wall can send them to