The Elizabethtown Area School District saluted 26 local veterans during its 11th annual Veterans Day ceremony. The program afforded school officials and high school students an opportunity to salute local veterans for their service to the country. It was also an opportunity for students to learn about the contributions that veterans have made and learn about the meaning of the day.
Elizabethtown Area School District board president Terry Seiders and Elizabethtown Borough Mayor Chuck Mummert joined superintendent of schools Michele Balliet in thanking the veterans who had gathered for the program in the high school auditorium. All five branches of the military — Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy — were represented among the veterans who gathered for the ceremony. Each veteran was presented with a certificate of appreciation and gratitude for their service that read as follows: With grateful appreciation for your service to our country, the Elizabethtown Area School District presents you with this certificate as a sign of our everlasting gratitude. We will always remember and honor all who have served the United States of America in our Armed Forces to protect our freedom.
“We choose to hold this ceremony each year not because our veterans demand our thanks or for that matter even served to receive it,” said Balliet. “Instead we hold this ceremony because Veterans Day is of equal if not more importance as many of our commercial holidays that receive far more recognition and we want to be a small flicker of change to educate our students and community of the importance of this day, which is to show our appreciation to the brave men and women like our honorees today that have protected our freedoms.”
High school students Julia Anderson, Madelyn Nagel, and Alaina Telenko also took part in the program held on Friday, Nov. 9, along with the high school marching band. Nagel delivered the invocation, Telenko read a brief history of Veterans Day, and Anderson read a tribute poem to the veterans. The marching band performed the national anthem. Band member Matthew Merlo played Taps.
During her remarks, Balliet challenged the more than 150 high school students in attendance to never forget the sacrifices of our veterans both past and present.
“I challenge our students to put down their smart phone from time to time, take a break from Twitter, stay home from the mall and write a letter to a soldier. Take the time to thank them for their service and sacrifice,” Balliet concluded.
The honorees were as follows:
United States Air Force: Clyde Barnhart, Donald Feiler, David Giuliano, James Hanley, Dan Helm, Keith Lloyd and W. Fred Orth
United States Army: Roger Hipple, Mark Klepping,Thomas Louie, Matthew McNitt, James Phillips, Suzanne Smith and Dave Snavely.
United States Coast Guard: Ann Edwards and Lee Reed.
United States Marine Corps: Jacob Kadilak, Robert Murphy, Jason Potts and James Read.
United States Navy: Russell Baker, Joseph Eckman, Chad Enck, Paul Rettew and Daniel Serfass.
United States Marines/ Air Force/ Air National Guard: Jess Durham.