Madisonville students celebrated local veterans on Friday with their annual ceremony at the high school gym.
The venue was packed with veterans young and old representing all branches of the military. Each was asked to stand as their names were called.
“This ceremony not only honors but thanks all the brave ladies and gentlemen who fought for our freedom,” said MHS senior Jose Vera in his opening remarks. “These people don’t have superpowers nor do they wear capes … [But] they are the definition of heroes.”
Students took turns sharing history from the American Revolution, Civil War, World Wars I and II, Korean War, Vietnam and Desert Storm Iraqi Freedom.
“Let us be reminded that we live in a land of the free because of the brave,” Vera said. “Let’s not only honor our veterans but those that are in active duty and the reserves.”
MHS student Audra Crocker noted that an empty chair was placed at the front of the room to honor those “who did not return from their tour of duty.” Placed on the table were items of significance such as a Bible and a candle.
“The table is round to show that our concern for them is never-ending,” Crocker said. “As we honor our veterans today let us please have a moment of silence for all those who have not returned home.”
The ceremony was a moving tribute for those who attended, many of whom now use a wheelchair or walker due to limited mobility. The veterans appeared to have lifted spirits when elementary school students sang “She’s a Grand Old Flag.” A touching rendition of “Taps” closed the ceremony.
All agreed that the annual gathering was a special ceremony for those who served in the U.S. military.
“The words ‘thank you’ seem so insignificant in the face of what many have sacrificed in the name of freedom,” said English teacher Christy Whitten.