Enlisting in 2006, one year after graduation from Italy High School , Marine Sgt. Jacob Simon, one of the honored guests, spoke words of truth at the Italy ISD Veteran’s Day Celebration on Thursday.
Simon was deployed to Iraq in 2007 through 2008. Simon spoke of local support and encouragement, “It meant a lot to have support from home. At one point half of Stafford Elementary wrote to me specifically. It was so wonderful.” said Simon. “I am honored to be in the presence of fellow soldiers from the different military branches who have and know to do what’s right and maintain freedom. If someone doesn’t step up, who will?”
Showed to a full house of local citizens, veterans, elementary and high school students, the ceremony opened with a slide show of local veterans at the dome on Veteran’s Day. FFA students, Katie Byers and Haley Pittmon, were color guard for the American flag and the Texas flag.
IHS Principal Tanya Parker, “Airforce brat”, understands “why men and women place their lives on the line everyday. It is an honor and privilege to know you and that you are here with us,” Parker said as she addressed the veterans.
Brianna Burkhalter, 10th grade, sang the Star Spangled Banner acapella, a gift to the audience. Senior, Shelby Gilley welcomed the different branches of service. The Italy Gladiator Regiment Band played theme songs of each division of service and the local veterans stood while their song played.
IHS Junior, Megan Richards, wrote an essay dedicated to our veterans. “Veterans are an inspiration to Americans, everyday heroes, mentors to Americans and are selfless. He or she is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being, a person who offered some of his or her life’s most vital years in the armed forces. Veterans inspire us everyday to do something great. We are told that inspiration is the divine guidance and influence on humans.”
“Veteran’s Day should be a celebration to commemorate the inspiration and selflessness of the true American heroes. President Wilson said it best when he wrote, “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in our country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”
Junior, Katelyn Bales read a poem called Freedom Poem written by the Pre-AP English Class of 2007. A writing describing the colors of red, white and blue. The colors that run through our nation and our understanding of freedom.
“Deep inside we search for light
Our nation fights with all its might
Carrying the colors of red, white and blue
Waving the flag boldly through"
Kasey Bales (7th grade) and Brycelen Richards (5th grade) sang God Bless America and the ceremony ended with Taps, played by senior, Taz Martinez.