MERNA – Anselmo-Merna presented its Veteran’s Day program to a host of students, community members, and veterans themselves on Friday; the roughly45-minute long program provided all present the opportunity to reflect on the value of military service both quietly and aloud.
The 7th-12th grade band opened the ceremony with a march: “Heroes on Parade,” while American Legion Post #50 presented the colors at the midcourt of the Anselmo-Merna gym. Kenzie Russell delivered the Pledge of Allegiance.
An invocation was presented by Principal Matt Huseman; he chose for his focus a poem written by a U.S. Marine. The program was then handed over to the 7th-12th grade choir.
Superintendent Howard Gaffney then introduced the keynote speaker: Mr. Gary Wright, who challenged the students gathered to identify character traits of those who’ve served their country. He heard “courageous,” “sacrificial,” “heroic,” and “strong,” among many others.
A reading of “In Flanders Field,” the famous World War One poem penned by Canadian Lieutenant-Colonel John McRae, written in the aftermath of the Second Battle of Ypres, was given by Caenyn Priest, Kyra Schmidt, and Jackson Christen.
The 6th-grade class then presented quotes of thankfulness, the authors of whom ranged from Oprah Winfrey to Alice Walker to Dr. Seuss.
Mr. John Meschke delivered a benediction offering thanks and prayers for veterans at home and abroad, and for those who would never return. Before the colors were retired, Superintendent Gaffney through tears reminded students that veterans’ sacrifices are decidedly not abstract, but often happen close to home.
“I’ve got a classmate that gave it all; a picture of him is hanging up out in the hallway. Vietnam. Have a good rest of the day,” he said, gesturing to the color guard to his left and right, “and be thankful that these gentlemen were able to come home.”