The ceremony, which was followed by a free breakfast, capped off a week of local events organized in honor of Veterans Day, which was Sunday. Some came to represent their military branch, some to celebrate the sacrifice for freedom, others simply to remember.
"I think is was outstanding, and I think it was a good program to get set up to get the kids concerned about veterans," Brown said. "They are going to be our future leaders."
The nearly hour-long program included a presentation of colors, a video recognizing each of the major conflicts during the past century, poetry readings and patriotic music by the CMS choir, band and orchestra.
Ken Howard sang "American Solider," while Trish Torline and Deb Pacheco performed renditions of "There She Stands" and "Amazing Grace." Student Joe Meibers also performed a somber "Taps" on the trumpet.
"We have these fine folks here, distinguished guests, gathered here today to thank for the wonderful free lives that we live here in America," said principal Luke Wright, who kicked off the ceremony. "Thank you so much for your dedication and the sacrifices you've made so we can live free lives."
Vets later gathered in the school cafeteria for a breakfast of eggs and sausage.
U. S. Army veteran Rex Johnson, who served in Korea, said events like Conkwright's help teach the younger generations about the importance of serving their country.
"I think it is especially important that the young children are getting involved," he said.
Another guest, 21-year-old Seth Hall who just returned from Fallujah, Iraq, serving as a lance corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps, called the service "well, organized, smooth and very nice."
"It ties in with Memorial Day to me, remembering the people that didn't get a chance to come back from overseas from any war," he said. "Those are the people in my opinion that deserve this day."
Veterans celebrations continued later Monday evening at the Golden Corral on the Bypass. The restaurant was raising money for the Disabled American Veterans and offering a free dinner to all veterans and active duty military personnel.
Golden Corral also presented Ret. Army Col. Jerry Cecil with the annual Hometown Hero Award. Cecil, a ground combat veteran of the Vietnam War and graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point served in the Army from 1961 to 1996, including stints in Korea, Panama and at the U.S. Pentagon.
He holds the Distinguished Service Cross, the Bronze star, the Legion of Merit, the Purple Heart and the Air Medal.
In his retirement, Cecil also served as an Army liaison to the Kentucky Advocate General.
But, Cecil said, he is no hero.
"The heroes are in this room and elsewhere," he said. "The heroes are not just the soldiers and sailors, airmen and Marines, but the real heroes are the families that raise these citizens who think about something more than themselves and serve this country."