Polo High School Holds Veteran’s Day Assembly
Bleachers filled with this generation’s youngsters, attentive to hear from the decorated generation seated before them. Every generation stood as the Polo high school choir sang the national anthem. Hands covered hearts as elementary children recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Polo American Legion Post 557 was represented at Wednesday’s school assembly by Army veterans Terry Smart and Ray Karnes, Navy veteran John Allen, Air Force veteran Ben White, and the American Legion Post’s commander Tracy Allen.
Not only did students enjoy the pomp and circumstance of the Veteran’s Day celebration, but they also learned interesting facts like there are 9.4 million veterans over the age of 65. And the school chose to start the assembly at 11 a.m. because the armistice ending WWI began at 11 a.m.
The student council presented a slideshow of students answering the question, “What is a veteran?” Students holding homemade signs flashed across the screen with answers like “Humble, they put the lives of others before their own” (Matt Vaughan); and “Civilians with a story, a story that we cannot match. They are all around us, but we don’t realize that they are in our everyday lives” (Trevor Standley). Mr. Ross answered, “Sacrifice. They have given a part of themselves to each and every person that has ever been or ever will be privileged enough to call themselves Americans.”
At 11:11 a.m. (on 11/11) everyone in attendance honored and remembered America’s fallen soldiers with a moment of silence. Twenty students, under the leadership of Mr. Cody Morse, then sang “God Bless the U.S.A.”
American Legion Post 557 commander—and Polo graduate—Tracy Allen spoke to the students about what freedom represents, and that is: “the right for Americans to make their own decisions”—instead of another country making those decisions. She shared that prior to the Veteran’s Day assembly, as she hung flags around Polo, a young man stopped and asked her why she was hanging flags. Allen wants the current generation to be informed.
The assembly’s second speaker, Daniel Boruch, gave a compelling talk on his experiences as a National Guard. Boruch, a 2013 Polo graduate, recalled being seven years old and watching the twin towers fall on 9/11. “Something built up inside” of him even then, and he joined the Army National Guard in October 2013. Boruch shared some advice he received from Coach Ross in high school: “When you start caring about the person next to you more than yourself, then you will be successful.” Boruch also told the students, “Veterans bought you the right to sit in this assembly . . . free.”
The assembly ended with Clay Garton playing “Taps” before students flocked the veterans to shake their hands and thank them for their service.
“A veteran—active duty, discharged, retired, or reserve—is someone who, at one point in his [or her] life, wrote a blank check made payable to The United States of America for an amount payable of up to, and including [his or] her life.” (Author Unknown)