Students honor Veterans Day with assembly

Nov. 10—ASHLAND — Ashland Blazer students honored Veterans Day by hosting an assembly remembering past and present men and women who served in the U.S Armed Forces.

Students, educators, guest and veterans filled Anderson Gym Friday morning for a tribute to all who have served in the Marines, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and the Army.

Marine Sgt. Major Sean McLain, retired, was the guest speaker featured at the assembly. He said events like these help young people understand the importance of living in a free country.

"It's an opportunity to remind the youth about the importance of freedom," McLain said. "There are people who sacrificed so much and we take it for granted. I have a great passion and love for this nation."

The assembly began with the National Anthem by Blazer's choir and student body, followed by the "Procession of the Patriots" by the choir, band and orchestra.

McLain enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1995 and served for 26 years.

"We come to celebrate and honor our nation's veterans, those men and women who fought for freedom and guaranteed our liberty in the way of life ... America has long been the beacon of hope and freedom to around the world drawing millions to our shores," McLain said. "It was the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 that World War I, the war to end all wars ended ... unfortunately the war to end all wars didn't last long. Naziism and fascism soon fell across the world and 16 million women and men stepped forward to fight tyranny in World War II, the most epic of American conflicts."

Jamie Campbell, Ashland Blazer's high school principal, honored faculty members who have served in the Armed Forces, which was met with a round of applause from the students in the gym.

"You may or may not know it, but every day around you, you have people that are working in this building amongst you every day that have served in the Armed Forces," Campbell said to the crowd. "I would love it if you would please stand so our students can recognize you."

Campbell said Veterans Day is a day that he cherishes and loves to see honored.

"This is one of the best days at Blazer High School to be able to come out here and celebrate our veterans and see the presentations that are being put on by our ROTC. Today's a great day to be an American," Campbell said.

Five students among the ROTC program of Blazer carried five caps representing the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard. Tucker Keener, a Blazer student, explained the symbolic nature of the table.

"This table set for five symbolizes frailty of the prisoners against their oppressors," Keener said. "Remember the tablecloth is white, symbolizing the purity in our country's call to arms. Remember, the sitting candle displayed in the center of the table is symbolic to the families and loved ones who kept the faith waiting for the return."

Veterans Day was originally known as Armistice Day. It was proclaimed in 1919 by Woodrow Wilson and became a legal federal holiday primarily set aside to honor veterans of World War I in 1938, according to U.S. Department of Defense.

Then came World War II and the Korean War. In June 1954, Congress amended the commemoration by changing "Armistice" to "Veterans" to honor American veterans of all wars.