WEST ALEXANDRIA — Twin Valley Community Local Schools held its annual Veterans Day program on Monday, Nov. 11. Middle/High School Principal Derek Flatter welcomed those in attendance and spoke on why they gathered on Veterans Day.
“We want to thank you for joining us as we recognize veterans for their unwavering service to America. On this 11th day of the 11th month, across this great country and throughout the world, Americans will pause to honor the men, women, and their families for whom more than 230 years have served for our freedoms by their duty, honor, and selfless service,” he said. “We recognize all veterans have given something of themselves for this county.
“Some of them have given everything — laid down their lives to defend the freedoms we hold so dearly. As many of you know, the brave men and women who serve and protect the US come from all walks of lives. They are parents, children, grandparents – they are friends, coworkers, neighbors, and important parts of our small community.
“Veterans Day is set aside to remember every man and woman who have taken up arms to defend our country. We honor every soldier, sailor, airman, marine, and coastguard who gave some and are still giving the best years of their lives to the service of the United States and stand ready to give their lives on our behalf.”
Andrew Johnson and Luke Cross led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. Taylor Bowers spoke on what the Pledge of Allegiance represents today.
“Every morning students here at Twin Valley South recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag in first period to show respect for our great country. The Pledge may have contrasting meanings to many people. Everyone views the pledge in different ways. When we say the Pledge to the Flag it is an embodiment of support to our country. It is a daily reminder that we have access to these freedoms, through the sacrifice of others,” she said.
“The Flag is a representation of our country as a whole, so when we say the Pledge it is a promise to be loyal to the United States. The Pledge is also a way to say thank you to the people who have previously served. It is a way to honor all the sacrifices they have made for our country. For me, the Pledge of Allegiance resembles a way to honor all those who have fought, are fighting, and who will fight.
“It is a commitment to support all those who fight for the freedoms we experience daily. We cannot thank them enough for all that they do, but reciting the Pledge is a start to honoring them. The Pledge of Allegiance is a way to honor our country and all those who have fought for it.”
TVS Chorale performed the Star Spangled Banner. Luke Byrnes spoke on what the flag represents to him.
“Personally, I think the flag stands for the people who are here. I believe it stands for the men and women who are serving, those who have served our country, and the people who gave their lives [serving in the military],” he said. “The Flag was made to be a symbol of the people.”
Principal Flatter led the crowd in recognizing the veterans gathered at the program. After reading their name and service history, the crowd applauded every veteran in attendance personally.
Claire Fergus spoke on what Veterans Day means to her.
“For me, it means sacrifice, commitment, and freedom. We can often get caught up in our daily lives and forget to honor those who have gave us so much. Veterans make the ultimate sacrifice by giving up things most cannot give up. Sacrifice means missing important events, birthdays, and holidays. Not only have veterans sacrificed their freedom and personal lives to fight to protect our country, but their family and friends have also sacrificed in their absence as well,” she said.
“To me, veterans are a symbol of freedom. Without their service, our country would not be the land of the free, home of the brave. So, today, we take this time to thank our veterans for their service and building the foundation of our great country.”
TVS Wind Ensemble performed Battle Hymn of the Republic. Maci Arndts, Caden Bishop, Shyanne Vanscoy, and Wes Hager read “I am a Veteran” poem, written by Andrea Christensen Brett.
TVS Wind Ensemble also performed Marches of the Armed Forced and, once again, the veterans gathered were encouraged to stand and be recognized.
Middle School Student Council representatives Valen Burkett and Brian Proctor gave their thanks. A moment of silence was held, as a student performed Taps.
Principal Flatter thanked all in attendance and welcomed the veterans to stick around for camaraderie.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH