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Kids sing, bells ring at Slater Veterans Day celebration

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The flags of different branches of the armed services are presented during the Slater Veterans Day ceremony.
(Sydney Stonner/Democrat-News)
Freedom literally rang throughout the Slater High School gymnasium on Veterans Day Wednesday, Nov. 11.

Students from Slater, Orearville, Hardeman and Gilliam schools were assembled there, and each time Slater Superintendent John MacEachern or Veterans Day organizer Charles Guthrie shouted, "Let freedom ring!" the students responded with resounding tintinnabulation from bells distributed prior to the ceremony.

After the Slater High School choir sang the national anthem, the school's readers theater performed two works about veterans and freedom.

Slater American Legion members look on as Slater Police Chief Keith Wright lights a candle to honor prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action at the Slater Veterans Day ceremony Wednesday, Nov. 11.
(Sydney Stonner/Democrat-News)
"Remember all the men and women who have died. Remember all the battles fought. Remember all the tears families cry. Remember it was freedom the soldiers brought," read one stanza.

Dale James, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.

"The rippling color, red white and blue, of our flag stands so clear and so proud through the smoke of battle, it leads American warriors forward toward freedom for the oppressed. This means America: freedom," Guthrie said.

(Sydney Stonner/Democrat-News)
Slater American Legionnaires Harry Lightfoot and Keith Wright placed a cloth on a chair and lit a candle, both in the center of the gymnasium, to remember those servicemen and women who are missing in action or prisoners of war.

Following this, there was a salute to the different branches of the military. As Slater students presented each branch's flag, veterans of that branch were asked to stand and be recognized.

Some students also shared their opinions about freedom at the assembly.

"I know my freedom is a privilege," Karson Heying said. "I am very aware that my freedom was not free, that it had to be earned."

"To me, freedom means being thankful for all our troops that are fighting for us right now and being able to call ourselves an independent nation," Mary Rose Gonzalez said.

The Veterans Day celebrations continued with a brief message from Slater Mayor Stephen Allegri.

"We need to be so thankful for the sacrifices these men and women have made for their country," Allegri said.

Saline County Treasurer Sam Jones also said a few words.

The featured speaker at the event was Judge James T. "Tut" Bellamy. He, too, mentioned the sacrifices veterans make for their country and quoted great leaders like Winston Churchill and George Washington.

"They are ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary things, that's who our veterans are," Bellamy said. "Some have endured great hardships ... some veterans have experienced the horrors of war. All of them have sacrificed something so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have today."

As the Veterans Day assembly drew to a close, Guthrie thanked the school and community members for their participation.

"I could not do what I do without many people behind me," he said. "Thank goodness for the veterans."

Contact Sydney Stonner at marshallbusiness@socket.net

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God bless the vets.

-- Posted by Ray on Thu, Nov 12, 2009, at 9:16 PM

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