Veterans honored at local program

Image: Red, white and true blue — The local veterans were honored on Wednesday at a service at Italy High School.  A reception was held in the library and a patriotic program was held in the dome.

Red, white and true blue — The local veterans were honored on Wednesday at a service at Italy High School. A reception was held in the library and a patriotic program was held in the dome. (Anne Sutherland)

“I had the pleasure of living in the military family when I traveled for 2 1/2 weeks recently with U.S. Central Command. What I heard, listening into the military’s unscripted conversations, were the wisecracks and dark humor of soldiers trying to make the best of a hard situation. But there was also the satisfaction of fighting these tough and sometimes thankless wars: The troops don’t boast about it, but they are very proud of what they have managed to accomplish."
“Standing Tall In Harm’s Way”,
By David Ignatius
Wednesday, November 11, 2009,
Washington Post

Red, white and blue were the colors of the day on Wednesday. Local veterans were honored at Italy High School with a commemorative program and a reception. Special music, photographs of days gone by and a guest speaker were on the agenda. Remember the American Revolution, Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Sacrifices were made for each of us.

Ms. Tanya Parker, principal of Italy High School, welcomed guests and their family and friends at the Veteran’s Day program. Senior, Jaleecia Fleming sang The National Anthem. As the veterans were introduced, the crowd gave a standing ovation to honor our local men and women in the armed forces.

Ms. Parker also introduced the special guest speaker, 1st Class, Sgt. Roger Sam. He fought in Desert Storm, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. During the time he has served our country, Sgt. Sam has come against a lot of resistance from Americans. He has heard that his job in the military is uncalled for. However, if he didn’t do his job or the other soldiers didn’t do theirs, tyranny would remain and take over.

“The Taliban has the ability to strike and the last time wasn’t as big as a war but it struck at the heart of America,” Sam said. "While I was in Iraq, I liked to see the children laughing and not worrying about how their future will turn out. And I want to give the children a chance to grow up. Maybe, someday, they can have a choice to fight instead of being forced and they will remember the American soldiers that played soccer for 3 days with them instead of fighting.

We do not want tyranny to have a chance to rise up again," the Sergeant explained. “I do this job not because of honor and glory or money, I want to show the love for our country. I want to make a difference. Everyone needs to stand up and make a difference,” Sam explained.

“We need to remember the men and women of Ft. Hood and when you see a veteran, thank them for what they have done and the day to day sacrifices given. Say a prayer for them,” Sam concluded.

The Italy High School Regiment Band played a military tribute to each branch of the service and the veterans stood as their representative song was played.

Also, honored was local veteran, Bobby Itson. Coach Kyle Holley said, “There is no one more dedicated than Bobby Itson. He loves his country and his Gladiators.” Itson played football, basketball and baseball for his beloved Italy High School and wore number #70. “This Friday night, each player will wear #70 on their helmet, as we make our way through the playoffs. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Bobby and his family,” Holley said. Recently, Itson suffered a major stroke and is still recovering at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. He is remembered and missed by the coaches and players.

Finally, Taps was played by two Italy band students, Collier Jacinto and Michael Martinez. Each stood at the top of the dome and played their trumpet, ending the progam.