In today’s world, people often say that some kids don’t care about anything, Craig County pupils are proving that narrative wrong.
On November 11, Veterans Day this year, the music and band teacher Alyssa Schulke led her high school band and chorus in a special assembly for local Veterans.
Students handed out a program which was titled, “Veterans Day. We honor those who served.” On the back it read, “With respect, honor and gratitude, Thank you Veterans.”
The program began with the Pledge of Allegiance which was followed by the Star-Spangled Banner.
Bryce Drake followed with a special poem titled, “The Noble and the Brave.” It began with the words, “When America had an urgent need, these brave ones raised a hand. No hesitation held them back, they were proud to take a stand. They left their friends and family, they gave up normal life to serve their country and God. So here’s to our country’s heroes, they’re a cut above the rest. Let’s give the honor that is due, to our very best.”
Marine Veteran Dennis White was the special speaker. He started with an elongated “goooooood morning.” He then mentioned that one time while in the Marines on a ship they stopped at a liberty port and his commanding officer shared that there would be a girl behind every tree. Everyone laughed when White noted that there wasn’t a single tree on the whole island.
He also shared with the students the difference between Veterans Day, Memorial Day and Armed Forces Day. “I hope you have a better understanding now of the different days and who we honor on those day,” White said. He then went on to share a story about the “Ghost brigade.”
“The Commander of the Second Battalion 1st Marines wanted to make a rapid helicopter assault on the North Vietnamese army. The operation method was to shock and surprise. We had radios and heard all communications between the North Vietnamese Army and their headquarters. When the U.S. Marines came in on helicopters and landed, they had the North Vietnamese Army in front of them and deep waters around them,” he said. “The U.S. Commander heard the N.V. Commander call for a lot more troops. The Marines were now outnumbered by a lot. Therefore, scouts were sent out by the Marines at night, under artillery fire to try to find a way out. They were able to find a strip of shallow land that would allow them to walk out one at a time. The Second Battalion 1st Marines walked out of there single file at night under artillery fire. The next morning the N.V. Army discovered that there wasn’t any enemy there to fight and their Commander said, ‘I know they were here, but now they are gone, just like ghosts, they disappeared.’”
White proved to be a true Marine. He taught students how to do the War Cry or “the victory call” as some call it. “It means anything but I can’t. It means, I will, and I did,” said White who had a sign and asked everyone to participate. He then explained that it is to come out strongly from the diaphragm not the throat. The students responded with vigor. “Come this graduation, I want to hear this,” said White with a grin.
White also shared how to fix America. “Put Jesus in your homes, your schools and your government and in your churches and in your heart. And I want you to remember this if you don’t remember anything else I say, remember that America is not an anti-Christian country. I put my faith and hope in God,” he said. The students responded with loud OOHRAH’s.
The high school band then played God Bless America which was led by Schulke.
Principal Melissa Whiting ended the event by reading a letter that was read at the most recent School Board meeting. The letter was from the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.
“Dear Ms. Warwick, on behalf of Commander Lee, and all the members of the Craig Valley Post #4491, I would like to personally commend you and the members of your staff for respect and patriotism for our sports team whenever the National Anthem was played,” read the letter. “Standing with their hands over their hearts shows that they understand what the National Anthem and the American flag stand for. Please convey our appreciation to your staff, respectfully William Burleson, Quarter Member VFW.”
Whiting asked the students to give their “esteemed guests one more round of applause.” They did just that.
They also asked every Veteran to stand, introduce themselves and share which branch they served in. The students then encouraged their teacher to stand and introduce himself. He did, being in the U.S. Army, and the students showed their respect with loud handclaps.
Before going back to class, many students chose to make a line and one by one they shook the hands of every Veteran that attended. “These are great kids,” several Veterans noted. “I love these kids.”