Boyce Elementary students gathered today in the school’s gym to honor local veterans. Students read original essays, recited poetry and sang songs dedicated to America’s brave men and women who have served and died for the cause of liberty both at home and around the world. Five veterans who served in conflicts spanning World War II through the Iraq War were present for the event.
Boyce Elementary principal Susan Catlett read President Barach Obama’s Veteran’s Day proclamation which said, in part:
On Veterans Day, we come together to pay tribute to the men and women who have worn the uniform of the United States Armed Forces. Americans across this land commemorate the patriots who have risked their lives to preserve the liberty of our Nation, the families who support them, and the heroes no longer with us. It is not our weapons or our technology that make us the most advanced military in the world; it is the unparalleled spirit, skill, and devotion of our troops. As we honor our veterans with ceremonies on this day, let our actions strengthen the bond between a Nation and her warriors.
Clarke County Honor Guard member and Boyce Music teacher Jessica Tavenner played the bugle in accompaniment of the color guard’s presentation of the American flag. Tavenner then led students in singing the National Anthem.
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Attending Boyce Elementary School program were five American veterans as well as Clarke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Murphy. The attending veterans’s service covered nearly 70 years of US involvement overseas.
World War II veteran Bev Whiting served in the US Army as an artillery expert. Bill Orerbey served during the Korean conflict and is now commander of American Legion Post 41. America’s Iranian Hostage military operation was represented by Navy veterans Rodney Lloyd VFW District 7 commander, and Frederick Lineburg, VFW Memorial Post commander. Navy veteran Ross Beam served during the Gulf War in Iraq.
Superintendent Murphy reminded the students that today is a day of remembrance of those who have served, fought and died in the service of their country.
Murphy said “As my father and brother, both veterans, often remind me; Freedom is not free. To those who serve and to those who love them, thank you!”
Each of the five grades at Boyce Elementary took turns on stage reciting poems and essays written especially for the veterans. Representatives from each class then presented a token of appreciation to the veterans for their service.
“I’m so proud of your service so that we can be free!” second grader Belle Reid said to the veterans from the stage.
Perhaps the most moving moment of the ceremony occurred when the entire Boyce Elementary student body turned to face the veterans and simultaneously signed “thank you” for their service.
The “thank you” gesture was in support of a campaign by a private group of citizens to express sincere appreciation when encountering members of the volunteer U.S. military. The Gratitude Campaign asks citizens to offer simple gesture, similar to the Middle Eastern custom motion of touching the heart as a sign of sincerity when greeting someone, to service members encountered in public places.
“It’s a way for kids or adults to easily connect with a service person in a public place” Principal Susan Catlett explained. “It’s not always easy or appropriate to just walk up to a service member in a public place and say “Thank you”. This is a quick and easy way to express your gratitude for their service.”
To see a video of the Gratitude Campaign please visit: