Over two dozen veterans and around 50 community members joined the staff and student body at Nevada High School this past Monday for a Veterans Day program in the Josephine Tope Community Auditorium. Planning of the program was a joint effort between the Nevada Schools and Tim McLaughlin of the American Legion in Nevada.
Nevada High School senior Zach Thomas served as Master of Ceremonies, welcoming all those in attendance.
"Throughout this nation’s history, America’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and coastguardsmen have bravely answered the call to defend our freedom, to aid our friends and allies and to turn back aggressors. Our veterans have secured the freedoms we now enjoy," Thomas said.
High School student Lexi Griffin recited a poem, "The Noble and the Brave," and then Thomas shared a video about the "Star Spangled Banner."
Also speaking at the event was local American Legion Commander Kathy Orcutt, who reminded everyone that Veterans Day was established by Congress in 1954 and on Monday, "we are here to remember with love and respect all the veterans, living and dead, who have sacrificed so much for us."
Local Veteran David Lilland stood on stage to represent all veterans who have served, while other veterans present were asked to stand and be recognized. "As you look at the veterans on stage and in the audience, you are looking at men and women who have answered the call of their country," Orcutt said. "They all served in different ways, but they all sacrificed a part of their lives to protect and secure the freedoms that we enjoy."
The program also featured other students who read, sang or played musical instruments to help honor the veterans and put on the program. High school instructor Chris Lloyd, who helped with the program, said the most memorable moments of the day included the ISU ROTC Color Guard presenting colors, the audience singing the National Anthem and saying the Pledge of Allegiance, the poems read, the video about "The Star Spangled Banner," which she said "captivated the audience, the choir’s singing of "America the Beautiful," and the veterans standing to be recognized by the students.
Then, at the end of the program, Tim McLaughlin shared a short speech about "Taps," and echoing Taps were played and then students filed out in silence to show respect for fallen veterans.
"The program was inspirational and educational," said senior Shane Freeman. "It’s good to take time out of our day to remember our veterans."
Veterans who attended shared that they felt honored to have high school students hold a special program for them. They were impressed by the video of the "Star Spangled Banner" and hoped it impacted students, as it told about how soldiers, during the war, literally held up the flag with their bodies while under heavy bombing from England.
"The recent Veteran’s Day program held at the high school was a great success. I continue to be impressed with how respectful our student body is during these assemblies. You could have heard a pin drop while our students left the auditorium in silence," said Principal Justin Gross. "I want to also say thank you to the Nevada American Legion, Mr. Tim McLaughlin, Mrs. Kathy Orcutt, Mrs. Chris Lloyd and our student representatives Zach Thomas, Lexi Griffin and Willow Griffith for the outstanding job they did preparing the program and delivering a great Veteran’s day message."