By CARLA MEYER
Veterans of World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War and the wars from Afghanistan and Iraq walked under the red, white and blue American flags they vowed to protect and the people who call America home.
The veterans of war and peace time paraded down the hallway into the gymnasium to be honored by Wapakoneta Middle School students during their annual Veterans Day ceremony.
“It’s really important to honor veterans because, if you think about it, they gave up their lives for our country,” Student Council News Reporter Lauren Klopfenstein said, prior to the ceremony on Thursday. “If they didn’t go, we probably wouldn’t be where we are.”
Student Council President Emma Walker agreed.
“Our country and government wouldn’t be where we are at today,” Walker said. “We wouldn’t have us.”
Walker explained she sees America as a freedom country, where everyone can be
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themselves without hiding. She also a country on a global basis.
“The world can lean on us because of the veterans,” Walker said.
Walker, Klopfenstein and the rest of the Wapakoneta Middle School Student Council have been planning the Veterans Day event since the beginning of the school year.
Each year, Student Council members organize this annual event to commemorate the veterans who served.
Walker, a seventh-grader, said the first step to hosting this event is to understand what Veterans Day is, and to teach it to the student body, especially the fifth-grade students, since this is a new event for them this year at the middle school.
“It is important for them to mingle and talk and learn from the veterans,” Walker said.
Students throughout the school were able to ask a veteran, whether it be a neighbor, relative or family friend to come to the school and join in for a special ceremony.
Before the Veterans Day assembly, everyone had a chance to enjoy refreshments and mingle in the cafeteria. Then after this, the veterans were escorted through a tunnel of flags held by students to lead to the gymnasium, where the ceremony began.
Walker opened the ceremony, and introduced the Color Guard, who did the posting of colors.
The choir sang patriotic songs and the band played music, which lead to the keynote speaker, David Severt, a local veteran who spoke to the students and fellow veterans about what it takes to be a veteran.
“I was brought up on the premise that if you see a need, you get it done,” Severt said. “You get the job done and do the job the best way you know how to.”
During the schoolwide assembly, Student Council members performed a skit, “A World Without Veterans,” which was an original play the students wrote.
“My kids work so hard,” student council adviser Joan Wade said. “This event takes the entire school to put on.”
Wade noted that this is the most veterans they have ever had in attendance for this event.
“Today we are here for the veterans,” Walker said. “The most amazing thing is looking around the room and seeing all of the veterans. They were brave enough to honor us and we thank them.”
“We feel like we are doing so little,” Klopfenstein said, of hosting the program, “but to them, it means so much.”