Honoring our men and women in uniform

Image: On Veterans Day, Stafford Elementary and Italy High School came together to celebrate the day.

On Veterans Day, Stafford Elementary and Italy High School came together to celebrate the day. (Anne Sutherland)

November 11 is a day of celebration and honor for American Veterans. Thanks isn’t good enough for the sacrifices made or the willingness to put one’s life on the line. Gratitude may be small thing but it is what we want to give.

Italy High School and Stafford Elementary came together on Friday and gave a collective salute to our local veterans. Poems, flag waving and song was just a few of the bits of entertainment for our veteran crowd.

The morning started with donuts in the library. The local veterans met and visited with each other and were escorted to the gymnasium where the celebration continued. Superintendent Barry Bassett welcomed all to the event, “I am proud of the students and staff to host this event. We are here to thank you and thankful to honor you.”

Presentation of the flags was given by Omar Estrada and Katie Byers, Italy FFA officers. A number of students performed or read for the veterans. The Italy Gladiator Regiment Band played songs representing each of the military branches and identified each person.

Mrs. Moreland introduced the main speaker, Elmerine Bell. Moreland said, “This is a woman of action, integrity, strength and respect.” Mrs. Bell graduated from Stafford in 1963 and University of Texas and spent 25 years teaching in the Dallas ISD and is a member of Mt. Gilead Baptist Church of Italy.

Mrs. Bell spoke to the veterans, “Thank you for the unparallelled privileged of speaking to you. When November rolls around, Veterans Day is here. Today is more than a holiday, it is our time to thank you and it is an honor for you to have served our country. We have freedoms which are not earned but guaranteed by women and men that sit in front of us today. Today, we thank you for our freedom to walk where we want to, worship in any way we want to, read books, listen to music, picket, protest, vote for our leaders and say whatever is in our hearts.”

Bell challenged the audience to stop and write down all the veterans living and visit with them and thank them. “When you say the pledge of allegiance, think about all the veterans and when you see a flag waiving, stop and say a prayer.”

Mrs. Bell also challenged the students to make the most of the opportunity given to them and be the best in all they do. “Our freedom has been given to us by countless sacrifices.” She ended her speech asking God to bless the veterans and America.

A special treat was brought by Stafford Elementary kindergarten, first and second grades in special music. Grand Ol’ Flag, Teach the World To Sing and God Bless America were sung by the students.

Reid Jacinto finalized the celebration in an emotional rendition of “Taps” on his trumpet.