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Honoring our Veterans

Daniel Dickenson, Staff Writer

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The Veteran’s Day Assembly was a roaring success that left the whole school vehemently chanting U-S-A. We started off with the chorus of the Star-Spangled Banner, sung fervidly by the choir. Mr. Smith then thanked the veterans for their service, and subsequently, eighth grade students read various articles about Veteran’s Day that they wrote.

Delaney Mitchell recited the opening statement, Mallory Daniel expressed the importance and true meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance, Jennifer Bair spoke on the rich history of Veteran’s Day, Lexi Clay explained the unique celebrations of Veteran’s Day, Maddex McMillen spoke on what the flag symbolizes, Parker Hall spoke on the colors of the flag, Andrew McKinney spoke on the rules of the flag, Keynan Cook spoke on the meaning behind each fold of the flag, Isabella Miller spoke on wars specifically the two world wars, and Ava Mullins thanked all veterans and read the closing.

Allie Strader also shared a personal story about her grandfather, William Howett. Howett spent 22 years in the service and served in Korea and Vietnam. Allie said it makes her feel proud and also helps her realize what kind of person he is. The choir then sang the Armed Forces Medley and We Honor you and as Mr. Smith put it “they sounded angelic.”

Four veterans came to speak with us, Sargent Major Jeff Neil, Dave Ray, Bill Brown, and Lieutenant Colonel Mark Houck. Sargent Major Jeff Neil spoke on what it is to him to be a veteran, “a veteran is someone that understands that there is something much bigger than them; being a veteran means to give everything and expect nothing in return.”

Kaden Ashby, a 7th grade student here at Beckley-Stratton, had a grandfather that served in Vietnam War. He said he is proud that his grandpa would do such a brave thing, and he wants to follow in his footsteps.

Dave Ray touched on the importance of family, “you leave the most important part of your life in the United States, your wife and kids.” Lieutenant Colonel Mark Houck talked about the seven most vital things about being a veteran to him, loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, personal courage.

Chris Sullivan, another 7th grade student at Beckley-Stratton, said he feels “safe and proud that his father made a huge sacrifice for our country.” Sullivan plans to join the Army to follow his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps.

Bill Brown, the most decorated war veteran in the state of West Virginia, spoke to us about loyalty and dependability. He is a true hero who reminded us all why it is respectful to stand for the pledge and the National Anthem, as he lifted his pant leg to show his American flag prosthetic. At the end of the assembly a lot of the students stood up and started belting out the words to “God Bless the U.S.A.” while the song was playing.

 

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