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U.S. Air Force veteran Lisa Bratton speaks to Poplar Bluff Elementary students

Gulf War veteran Lisa Bratton of the U.S. Air Force returned to her elementary school to speak...
Gulf War veteran Lisa Bratton of the U.S. Air Force returned to her elementary school to speak with students about her service, in observance of Veterans Day.(Poplar Bluff R-I School District)
Published: Nov. 20, 2019 at 12:42 PM CST
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POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. (KFVS) - Gulf War veteran Lisa Bratton of the U.S. Air Force returned to her home town elementary school to speak with students about her service, in observance of Veterans Day.

Bratton, a Poplar Bluff High School graduate, served as the keynote during O’Neal Elementary’s fourth annual Veterans Day Assembly, organized by paraprofessional Annette Wells, past president of American Legion Auxiliary Unit 153.

“By doing my homework and listening to my teachers, I was able to follow my dreams and travel the world, and serve my country,” said Bratton to the school-wide audience. “I am thankful to O’Neal Elementary for laying the foundation of success in my life and in the United States Air Force.”

Hailing from a line of wartime veterans who served in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam, Bratton said she made up her mind to join the military at the young age of 10. She worked hard to finish high school by age 16, attended Three Rivers College for two years, and enlisted one month after her 18th birthday.

The Wallace family donates a new American flag to O’Neal Elementary School. (Source: Poplar...
The Wallace family donates a new American flag to O’Neal Elementary School. (Source: Poplar Bluff R-I School District)(Poplar Bluff R-I School Dist.)

Students were asked to invite family veterans to attend the program, and the event saw representation from military parents, step-parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, great-grandparents and friends.

For those who did not have living veterans available to participate, military ancestors were honored throughout the hallways, where a special parade was arranged for the guests.

Afterward, veterans were encouraged to enjoy a snack with their students. Wells referred to the visitors as "real-life superheroes,” informing the students that: “Nobody [has] fought harder for your freedom than [who] you are surrounded by.”

Her husband Charlie, also in attendance, was a submarine sailor who fought in the Vietnam War. She said she is thankful for O’Neal Principal Dr. Amy Dill, who has supported her efforts to organize the public event each year.

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