TENNERTON - Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School hosted a special program Friday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and to honor all veterans, both surviving and fallen.
Faculty, students and local veterans participated in the program, a moment of silent remembrance sweeping the audience as it got underway.
"What a tragedy," Frank B. Bartlett Post 7 Commander Les Shreve said, recalling the day of Kennedy's assassination. "This was so devastating to our nation. It made such an imprint in my generation's life that most of us can tell you exactly what we were doing, where we were at, who we were with; we can tell you every detail of our personal life at that moment. The whole nation wept. Some of you may have those same impressions of Sept. 11, 2001."
The Inter-Mountain photos by Melissa Toothman
One by one, Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School students honor each United States service branch with the presentation of their respective flags on Friday.
Members of the Frank B. Bartlett Post 7 and adjunct Frank B. Bartlett Post 7 contributed to the planning and implementation of the program. Many of the veterans who gathered in the B-UMS gymnasium for the observance were invited by family members or students.
"We, not just the veterans but other services as well, have done our best to preserve the freedoms we so adore," Shreve said. "Our veterans should be recognized for their sacrifices in peace and war, what they give up and what their families are doing is far above and beyond normal sacrifices."
Each service branch was individually recognized. Veterans of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard and the West Virginia National Guard all were recognized. Special recognition was given to U.S. Army and Word War II Veteran Jim Stump, who was surrounded by family upon his recognition, including his two grandchildren and five great-grandchildren who attend B-UMS.
Shreve had a message for all the middle school students at the close of his speech.
"Everyone cannot be a doctor or lawyer," Shreve said. "Whatever avenue you pursue in the future, it (freedom) is in your hands. It is your responsibility to stand up for freedom and always be proud. Whatever your endeavor, it is your responsibility is to give everything you have.
"It will be yours to keep or lose. If you keep this freedom, then one day your children will put you in that class of wise when you are gone."
Contact Melissa Toothman by email at email@example.com.