With well-deserved pomp and cheering circumstance, hundreds of students and staff honored local veterans and expressed authentic gratitude for their service during the fourth annual Veterans Day assembly in the Anoka High School fieldhouse.
The Nov. 11 school day opened with patriotic song and speech honoring soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who have served the country – some making the ultimate sacrifice to preserve the American way of life.
The school’s choir, band and orchestra led spirited renditions of the national anthem and the “Armed Forces Medley” and members of the Anoka American Legion Post 102 color guard posted the flag and laid a wreath in memory of those who died while serving.
Principal Mike Farley, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, welcomed veterans to the event and read “The Soldier’s Creed,” which ends with these words, “I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life. I am an American soldier.”
“We just want to take time to show respect to all those who served our country,” Farley said. “We must never forget, freedom is never free. Veterans today – here and everywhere – we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
Among veterans present for the Veterans Day Assembly at Anoka were high school staff members Tim Boyle (U.S. Army), Tim Frame (U.S. Air Force) and Richard Wulff (U.S. Marines) in addition to Farley (U.S. Navy).
Students gathered for the optional assembly listened quietly as classmate Cody Rogers read “Respect the Flag,” which details the proper care and treatment, display and disposal of the American flag.
Next, Maren Weaver described to her classmates the history of Veterans Day in America, reading “What is Veterans Day,” and then introduced guest speaker U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. David Eustice.
“We have freedom because people are willing to fight, willing to give up everything so that you can be free,” Eustice said.
He then spoke of the sacrifices military men and women make in order to serve the country and told the crowd only 1 percent of Americans serve.
“So that means some of you are going to have to step up. Some of you are going to have to serve in order to preserve freedoms and preserve the American way of life,” Eustice said.
Following the performance of the “Armed Forces Medley” and recognition of veterans in attendance, a wreath was laid and “Taps” was played as the color guard stood saluting the fallen.
After the assembly, veterans and their families were invited to a reception given in their honor.
Sue Austreng is at [email protected]