The students and faculty of Westminster Academy honored veterans from their community in a special assembly on Friday. Members from all branches of the military were present from the Army to the Coast Guard, and service members were recognized according to the conflict they helped to support. There were veterans present from the Korean War through the Cold War to the modern Global War on Terrorism, and it was an inspiration to celebrate their dedication and sacrifice.
The music of the assembly brought tears to many in attendance. The Westminster Academy Choir led attendees in moving renditions of “Eternal Father”, “Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory” and “God Bless America.” And the audience was also privileged to hear Mr. Ben Lewis close the assembly with the playing of “Taps.”
Several students who entered the Veterans of Foreign Wars Essay and Speech Competition presented their entries. Thomas Smith, 7th grade, read his essay entitled “The America I Believe In,” and seniors Addison Furst and Emily Jordan both presented their speeches from the prompt “My Responsibility to America.” Especially enjoyable was 7th grader Catherine Cole’s presentation of “The Gettysburg Address” from memory, which prompted a standing ovation.
Keynote speaker Ed Norton, pastor of Independent Presbyterian Church and Retired LT Col from the Mississippi Air National Guard, spoke to the audience about his time in service and how we can all be inspired to serve our communities by looking to the great examples we have in our military service members, both past and present.
In her speech, Addison Furst noted, “we are blessed to live in a country where our freedom is considered at right.” It is because of the brave men and women honored on Friday that we are able to maintain that right. As Headmaster Janikowsky put it, “What a joy to celebrate selfless service!”