News reporter and author Elmer Davis once said, “This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.” On Monday, Nov. 11, Morgan Middle school students celebrated Veteran’s Day by honoring the many brave Morgan residents who have fought valiantly for our rights and freedoms.
Members of the community, students and faculty gathered together in an assembly focusing on the many sacrifices made by veterans in our community. With reverence, students watched as the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars comprising the color guard presented the colors. MMS students expressed their gratitude for the service rendered by these veterans with music, videos and talks paying special tribute to those who have put their lives on the line.
We have a rich heritage in this country of celebrating our patriotism. Patriotism is the only theme reinforced repeatedly throughout the year with a multitude of specially designated days, observances, and holidays. It is a wonderful cultural commentary to have so many opportunities to reflect on our patriotism and the freedoms granted. We celebrate holidays such as Independence Day, Memorial Day, and Veterans Day along with many others during the year.
With tender feelings we think of the services rendered, the lives lost, the freedoms preserved. We remember the many men and women who have fought for this great country, for freedom. They fought with honor, they fought for each other, for their families, for you and for me. In accordance with our magnificent governing document, the Constitution, these veterans served “in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” In this regard, their service has been exemplary.
During the assembly, the students were able to see a small taste of what this means to them by viewing a variety of photographs and videos. The sentiment was captured best by one student who shared, “Whether they wear their uniform now or did so decades ago, veterans represent our highest ideal of service to our nation.”
The assembly ended with a moment of silence. Morgan veterans who died in the line of service were remembered. The 19 individuals who served valiantly and sealed their legacy with their lives are as follows: Jarred Dickson, Ronald T. Lucky, Samuel M. White, Thomas Riley Lamar, Norris Andrew Nelson, Arthur G. Leatham, Craig Hannum, Richard Mikesell, Robert Dean Smith, Thomas Henry Giles, Henry Burton Nelson, Chester R. Olsen, Jack Ekins, Malin E. Francis, Wendal F. Carrigan, Roy K. Eastman, Max B Jenkins, Marsh E. Abbot, and Karl Lee Crittendon.
One local veteran in attendance shared his feelings on the assembly saying it was “very moving.” Gordon Johnson served with the Marines for six years on active duty. His assignments took him all over the world from West Africa to Okinawa. While in West Africa, he served as a Marine security guard at several American embassies. Now residing in Morgan, Johson says he loves “living in a community that takes such pride in our country and that shows such great respect to those who have served their country.” He reflects on the feelings he had during the assembly being “stronger than I expected.”
With Veterans Day being so close to the birthday of the Marine Corps on Nov. 10, there are two days in a row where veterans can reflect on their service and remember their friendships. In particular, Johnson appreciates that it allows him to “remember those who gave everything in their service, and time to honor others who have sacrificed so much to support and defend our constitution and the freedoms it gives us.”
Serving overseas is a life-changing experience allowing our service men and women to see how other people live, experience new cultures, and gain a greater appreciation for the freedoms we enjoy. Making it even more special, Johnson was joined in the assembly with his dad and brother who are also veterans.
Thank you to all the men and women who have served, and continue to serve, this great country. Your service has maintained our wonderful way of life in this country, and for that we will always be grateful.