Elkins Middle School event salutes veterans

ELKINS – Local veterans were honored Friday at Elkins Middle School by the school’s students and faculty.

Hi-Y President Paige Cooper welcomed everyone to the school’s 13th Veterans Day Assembly. All veterans in attendance were recognized, and two veterans addressed students gathered at the assembly.

Sgt. Brad Bennett of the U.S. Army Reserves told those gathered he served his country for five years and 10 months. He shared a history of Veterans Day.

“A veteran is any person who has served for any length of time in any of the five branches of the United States military – the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines or the Coast Guard,” Bennett said. “Veterans Day, or Remembrance Day, is a time to honor all members of the armed forces.

“The agreement for a truce was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. Fighting ceased for World War I. One year later, President Woodrow Wilson had Americans observe a moment of silence at 11 a.m. to remember the armistice.

“Please take the time to thank those who served in the military,” Bennett said. “It’s the little things that mean the most for those who have sacrificed the most. Lets give a little for those who gave it all.”

Sgt. James Zimmer of the U.S. Marines told about how he became interested in serving his country.

“When I was a junior in high school I heard a similar speech,” Zimmer said. “It was there everything changed. I listened to a veteran speak and decided I wanted to do my part to help my country. I went home and asked my mom what she thought about me joining the Marines. She said she would support what I chose to do. My life was forever changed by being in the military.”

Zimmer said people choose to serve the military because it is the right thing to do.

Participants watched a film by Red Skelton from 1969, in which he spoke about an incident during his childhood. Skelton said his second grade teacher told his class he thought they were taking the Pledge of Allegiance for granted. Skelton said the teacher explained the meaning of the words of the pledge, which made a difference.

Members of the Davis & Elkins College Highlanders escorted the Color Guard into the gymnasium. The Elkins High School Choir and Marching Band performed patriotic songs for the event.

Cooper presented veterans with a wreath that will be displayed at the All Veterans Memorial at the corner of Harrison and Randolph Avenue in Elkins. Following the assembly, veterans attended a reception in the cafeteria.