Gov. Justice, First Lady to host youth salute to veterans “Once and Future Patriots” event Nov. 8 at Culture Center


CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice and First Lady Cathy Justice will host a youth salute to veterans ceremony on Nov. 8 in advance of Veterans Day. The event is free and open to the public.

WHAT: Once and Future Patriots West Virginia youth salute to veterans

WHEN: Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, at 11 a.m.

WHERE: Culture Center Theater, WV Capitol Complex

The ceremony will feature the Nitro High School student and teacher who jointly became the first West Virginians to earn entry into the prestigious Albert H. Small Normandy Institute. This intensive national program focuses on World War II’s D-Day invasion. Each of the 15 teams it selects annually help preserve the memory of a service member who fell during the Normandy Campaign. Nitro High Senior Emily Rinick and teacher Kizmet Chandler focused on Staff Sgt. Mitchell Woods Bacon, a West Virginian and U.S. Army Air Corps radio operator who died when his plane was shot down on June 7, 1944.

The 11 a.m. ceremony will also debut the 20 winning cards submitted by West Virginia schoolchildren for First Lady Cathy Justice's Thank A Veteran Contest. Third, fourth and fifth graders from 54 schools in 24 counties created 2,785 cards for this installment of the First Lady’s Student Artist Series. Each card will be given to a veteran in honor of Veterans Day.

Other youth participants include Nitro High’s Show Choir and Air Force Junior ROTC Honor Guard. Joining the governor and first lady will be Veterans Assistance Secretary Dennis Davis, Military Affairs and Public Safety Secretary Jeff Sandy, and general counsel to the governor and WV Army National Guard Lt. Col. Brian Abraham. The WVNG’s 249th Army Band will perform as well. West Virginia Arts, Culture and History Curator Randall Reid-Smith will serve as event emcee.

About the Albert H. Small Normandy Institute

The Albert H. Small Normandy Institute is the embodiment of a long-held vision of Albert H. Small. A 94-year-old WWII veteran, he believed it vitally important to pass on to future generations the lessons of sacrifice for freedom from World War II and especially D-Day.

A West Virginia native, Robert (Bob) Perry, helped Small realize that vision. Perry’s uncle, fellow West Virginian Earnest Ford Perry, like Small also fought in WWII. Now in its 10th year, the Albert H. Small Normandy Institute selects high school teachers and students to study the lessons of D-Day, culminating in a trip in June of each year to Washington, D.C., and Normandy, France.  

Perry is the institute’s director.  Mr. Small has endowed it so that it can continue to be held in perpetuity, and continue to reach and teach successive generations. Nitro High’s Kizmet Chandler has been selected as the co-head teacher for the 2020 and 2021 Albert H. Small Normandy Institutes.​

Contact Information

Jordan Damron,


Office of the Governor
State Capitol, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E
Charleston, WV 25305

Office Phone:
304.558.2000 or 1.888.438.2731

Governor's Mansion:

Flag Status

American Flag Full Staff
State Flag Full Staff

Banner Images Courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Commerce

Site Map