High school event cel­e­brates mil­i­tary with break­fast

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - FRONT PAGE - BY KELLY MONITZ STAFF WRITER

‘One day a year can never be enough to thank you for what you have sac­ri­ficed.’ Sarah My­ers Ha­zle­ton Area High School se­nior class pres­i­dent

HAZLE TWP. — Vet­er­ans and their fam­i­lies at­tended a break­fast and pro­gram held Fri­day at Ha­zle­ton Area High School to thank them for their ser­vice to their coun­try, as the na­tion pre­pares to ob­serve Vet­er­ans Day on Sun­day.

Se­nior class pres­i­dent Sarah My­ers wel­comed those in at­ten­dance and told them it was the stu­dents’ honor to serve them as they gath­ered to­gether for a meal. She also re­counted the his­tory of Vet­er­ans Day, which be­gan as Armistice Day on Nov 11, 1919, to mark the end of World War I.

Armistice Day be­came a na­tional hol­i­day in 1938, and Pres­i­dent Dwight D. Eisen­hower changed the name to Vet­er­ans Day to honor all those liv­ing and de­ceased vet­er­ans who served hon­or­ably dur­ing time of war and peace, My­ers said.

“So, it is to­day that we wel­come and thank the men and women of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard,” she said. “All who served have made sac­ri­fices to keep our coun­try free. For this, we are grate­ful.”

Both of My­ers’ grand­fa­thers served in the mil­i­tary, as did her fa­ther, she said

“There is no greater sac­ri­fice than leav­ing your fam­ily and friends be­hind for the greater good of the coun­try,” she said. “Some of you left hus­bands, wives and chil­dren, know­ing that you may never see them again. Some of you lost friends or loved ones in bat­tle.

“One day a year can never be enough to thank you for what you have sac­ri­ficed,” My­ers said.

A sim­ple “Thank you for your ser­vice” or a hot break­fast is not enough to ex­press their grat­i­tude for what vet­er­ans have done, she said.

“From the bot­tom of our hearts, we ap­pre­ci­ate all you have done to keep Amer­ica the free land that it is to­day,” My­ers said.

U.S. Army Capt. Kath­leen Whit­ley served as the main speaker for the event, in which the high school cho­rus and band en­ter­tained those gath­ered with songs and mu­si­cal pre­sen­ta­tions. They also showed a video cre­ated by ninth-graders, in which stu­dents de­fined what a vet­eran and sac­ri­fice meant to them and thanked vet­er­ans for their ser­vice.

Whit­ley, who served in the Army, the re­serves, tran­si­tioned to civil­ian life to raise four chil­dren and re-en­listed, thanked the stu­dents for a won­der­ful morn­ing hon­or­ing those who served.

“Wow, Ha­zle­ton Area High School, you know how to do it,” she said. “I’m hon­ored to­day to have the op­por­tu­nity to talk to you about Vet­er­ans Day. To­day, we rec­og­nize those who served on ac­tive duty, in the Na­tional Guard and the re­serves forces to keep our na­tion free. We re­mem­ber their sac­ri­fices and their devo­tion to duty and honor and coun­try,”

“To­day, we honor the men and women who placed coun­try and ser­vice be­fore them­selves and demon­strated that courage and soul,” Whit­ley said.

She ex­pressed awe in speak­ing to a 94-year-old man who in 1946 served as a yeo­man on a de­stroyer that sunk and he sur­vived, and a Viet­nam War vet­eran who is work­ing to­ward re­tire­ment from a civil­ian job, us­ing skills he learned while on ac­tive duty.

“To­day, we stand in the midst of pa­tri­ots, and fam­ily and friends of those who have nobly served,” Whit­ley said.

She asked all ser­vice mem­bers and vet­er­ans in at­ten­dance to stand up and be rec­og­nized, and the au­di­to­rium erupted into a long, steady round of ap­plause for them.

“Thank you for an­swer­ing the call to serve,” she said. “You have helped pre­serve our na­tion and our Con­sti­tu­tion.”

Whit­ley then asked all loved one could fo­cus on their mis­sion, and that is so crit­i­cal. Thank you so much.”

Whit­ley pon­dered what brings them all to­gether as vet­er­ans and re­searched val­ues of the sis­ter ser­vices, com­ing up with words such as honor, in­tegrity, re­spect, courage, faith­ful­ness.

“Why does this mat­ter?” she asked. “This mat­ters be­cause it give us in­sight into what our vet­er­ans have been trained in, what was ex­pected and what they up­held. That tells us who they are at their very core. us so much.”

We ob­serve Vet­er­ans Day on an an­niver­sary, she said, but not of a great bat­tle or war, but of a great peace, the Armistice that ended World War II.

“It re­minds us that this day is des­ig­nated to re­mem­ber our debt to all of those who have worn the uni­form of the United States of Amer­ica,” she said. “And your pres­ence here to­day is a way to say, ‘We re­mem­ber and we’re grate­ful.’”

ELLEN F. O’CON­NELL / STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

U.S. Army Capt. Kath­leen Whit­ney ad­dresses the au­di­ence as the main speaker of a Vet­er­ans Day pro­gram Fri­day at Ha­zle­ton Area High School in Hazle Twp.

ELLeN F. o’CoN­NeLL / StaFF Pho­tog­ra­Pher

Area ser­vice mem­bers and vet­er­ans stand to be rec­og­nized at the Vet­er­ans Day pro­gram at Ha­zle­ton Area High School on Fri­day in Hazle Twp. Stu­dents served hot break­fasts to vet­er­ans and ac­tive-duty mem­bers in at­ten­dance.

Mem­bers of the Cougar Cho­rus at Ha­zle­ton Area High School sing pa­tri­otic songs dur­ing the Vet­er­ans Day pro­gram.

Se­nior Class Pres­i­dent Sarah My­ers wel­comes the vet­er­ans at­tend­ing the pro­gram.

Vet­eran Ray­mond J. Adams of Rock Glen, who served with the U.S. Army for 22 years, stands as the Ha­zle­ton Area High School band plays “The Armed Forces Med­ley.”

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