I attended three Veterans Day presentations in Columbia County schools this past week, and feel the need to express what I saw and felt.
I saw elementary school students pledge allegiance to our flag with enthusiasm. I listened as some of these students read poems they wrote in the aftermath of the September terrorist attacks. The poems were from the heart, not part of some writing assignment. I listened as they sang every patriotic song I know. They sang them all. They were all great and were performed with a purpose that I havent seen for a long time.
I watched videos and Powerpoint presentations showing heroes in action. I saw the pictures and names of relatives who have served our country over the years. The students were proud of their heritage. ... But this was not just another obligatory event. This was special. This was real. You could see it.
I saw middle-school students proudly displaying their talents in the band. They played the Star-Spangled Banner with honor. They enjoyed it. You could tell. They played Patriot Dreams and God Bless America as the chorus sang. They played and sang with a sense of patriotism that I feared didnt exist anymore. I listened as a student, a son of a retired serviceman, played Taps. He did well. His parents had to be proud.
I watched and listened as a retired Marine, now one of our assistant principals, talked about commitment, character and honor. He praised others in the crowd who have served with distinction. He encouraged the students to never waiver in their commitment and their character. The students listened, really. You could tell. ... It was impressive. It was real. I enjoyed it all.
I never joined the armed forces. I never got drafted. By the time I reached the age of service all of the wars were over. Joining up wasnt cool and I didnt have to. I think I may have missed something special, but I have no regrets. I realize that we all have a duty to our country. It may not be serving in the armed forces. It may be something as simple as making sure our children understand what others have done to secure our freedom and to protect our liberties. Whatever our duty is, we should undertake it with the same enthusiasm and pride these students and teachers exhibited in their programs
I want to say thanks to all the students, teachers, parents and anyone else who participated in these Veterans Day programs. I was impressed. I want to especially thank those who have served, and currently serve, our country with honor and commitment.
District 2 School Board member
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