Bayside Elementary School honors veterans
More than 50 active-duty and retired military members were recognized on Thursday, Nov. 9, for their willingness to serve their country in times of both trouble and calm during Bayside Elementary School’s annual Veterans Day ceremony.
STEVENSVILLE — More than 50 active-duty and retired military members were recognized on Thursday, Nov. 9, for their willingness to serve their country in times of both trouble and calm during Bayside Elementary School’s annual Veterans Day ceremony.
Sitting in chairs wrapped around the front of the school gym, student at their feet or in their lap and the eyes of the entire school and audience, members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Air Force were thanked by speakers, song and applause throughout the morning ceremony.
Principal Louisa Welch recalled her family’s car had two bumper stickers on the back of their vehicle, one that read, “Die Army,” and the other that read, “Die Navy,” as her family has a strong connection to the military through service from her father and brothers.
Welch thanked veterans and active-duty servicemen and women for the “weeks, months or even years apart from family and loved ones all for the purpose of protecting our freedoms that we enjoy every day here in the United States.”
Nancy Crim, a teaching specialist, too, has a strong connection with the military as she is the daughter and brother of Air Force veterans. Crim went over what a veteran is, defined activeduty and reviewed the four branches of the military.
The chorus sang, “American Tears,” prior to Col. Scott Clark, the guest speaker, taking the stage.
Clark received his Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical science with a minor in aviation safety from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Fla., and received his commission from officer training school at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama.
Commissioned as a sec- ond lieutenant on June 12, 1998, Clark held leadership ositions as a chief pilot, chief of group training, and chief of weapons and tactics, among other things. With more than 4,400 flight hours, Clark flew the T-37, T1, C-141 and the KC-135 aircrafts, and served in operations Fundamental Justice, Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, and Inherit Resolve.
Now, Clark is an emergency preparedness liaison officer that works with state and federal agencies on Home- land Security planning and training exercises.
Clark said he joined the Air Force Reserves in 1997 and was selected for pilot training school. He said he signed up to be part time, but after Sept. 11, 2001, as many veterans experienced, “our country called upon us quite a bit.”
Flying the C-141, a transport plane, Clark said he carried heavy equipment, paratroop operations and mainly conducted air MedEvac work, flying wounded soldiers to safety to receive medical treatment, “which was a very special mission to be a part of.”
Flying the KC-135, a flying gas station, Clark said that gave the United States the ability to keep an airplane anywhere in the world for a significant amount of time. “That tells our enemies that we’re fighting against that we’re going to come after them at a time and place of our choosing,” he said. “That’s an incredible power we have to protect our freedoms.”
All veterans, he said, served their country in different ways. But the main thing each one of them brings to the table is their teamwork.
“That’s one of the greatest things we all appreciate about serving the country is the teamwork and the camaraderie and the community we’re so proud to be a part of,” he said.
Clark gave thanks to those who made the ultimate sacrifice, and expressed his gratitude to those wounded in the line of duty who “continue to carry the scars, both some seen and unseen, with them to this day.”
For the families of military servicemen and women, Clark gave equal gratitude as he said they are left many times to pick up the pieces for long stretches of time.
To close the ceremony, each veteran was passed a microphone, stood up, and said their name, rank and branch of military to be recognized.
Richard Jacquette, U.S. Air Force in Vietnam, back right, and Rex Wells, who served in Europe in the military police, back left, stand with their grandsons Zachary and Sam Wells after Bayside Elementay School’s Veterans Day ceremony. The annual event was held in the school gymnasium on Thursday, Nov. 9.