~~ By Elaine Owen, Editor ~~
November 9th wasn’t about getting time away from regular school classes. It was a time to remember the ultimate sacrifices made by military service
members to protect our country’s freedom. It was a time to respect those who made the decision to risk their lives to save others.
And West Fannin Elementary School students took time that morning to honor the veterans who were there for the Veterans Day Program, with patriotic songs, poems, and personal greetings.
Welcoming veterans and other guests, Lucas Roof, Principal of West Fannin, said, “We have freedoms because you sacrificed. We have opportunities because you have courage. We get to follow our dreams because many of you put your dreams on hold. We take pride in our country because you have pride in our country. Today, we show our appreciation for your sacrifice and your service.”
Patriotic songs, and poems followed, with lighting of candles by Veterans and students placing medals strung on red, white and blue ribbons around their necks, honoring their service.
Students posted the colors of the five branches of service: the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard.
Guest speaker Dr. Tom Jordan served seven years in the United States Army as a chaplain, and was honorably discharged as a captain.
He spoke directly to the students, “Today is a day to honor Veterans. We do that by thanking them for their service, by reciting the pledge and singing the national anthem.
“We are fortunate in the United States to be called the land of the free, but we must never forget that freedoms we enjoy were not given to us for free. When it comes to Veterans, always remember this, some have given all and all have given some,” he said.
“The least a United States citizen can do is give respect by putting your hand over your heart during the pledge and standing for the national anthem to show respect that is earned and deserved. We should do so, not because we HAVE to, but because we WANT to.”
After his discharge from the Army, Jordan continued his theological studies, earning a doctorate degree and serving 42 years in full-time ministry. He is now pastor at Epworth First Baptist Church.
The program and refreshments didn’t take more than 80 minutes out of the students’ day, but hopefully the memories of the event will linger with both the students and veterans.
One student summed up Veterans Day by saying, “They sacrificed for us, so we need to honor and respect our veterans.”