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Veterans recognized at Morris Area

MORRIS - On Monday, students and community members gathered in the Morris Area Elementary School gymnasium for a Veterans' Day ceremony organized by the Morris Area High School Student Council and FFA.

Three Morris Area students were recognized to give speeches at the event. Below is the text of their remarks. Attached to this story is a photo gallery from the ceremony.

Jake Riley

We celebrate Veteran's Day on November 11th to honor the people who are serving and have served our country. They served for freedom and that takes courage, something that they had more than enough of.

We thank them for their service and their sacrifice for our country. Thanks to them, our country is free and without freedom we would not be able to live where we want or go to school where we want. These people protect our freedom.

Whenever we hear the National Anthem we should take off our hats and remember these people. We should honor and respect them. I know I do.

My uncle's brother, David Day, served in the National Guard from Morris and he was killed saving a man's life and I am very proud, but also very sad. I know he was proud to be an American. I hope any soldier who has served is proud to protect the freedom of so many people.

My three grandpas, Mike Power, Curt Ettesvold, and Joe Riley were all willing to serve our country and my uncle Chip continues to serve overseas. I am very proud of them.

I thank the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard and National Guard. I am proud to be an American.

Thank you Veterans!

Jordan Thooft

Veterans Day is November 11. It is a day to honor as well as remember all of the men and women that served our country. This is very important to me as an individual for many reasons. I have an

uncle who was in Panama. As well as a great uncle that was in Vietnam. I look up to these two role models and would even consider following in their footsteps in the military.

The military keeps us free and safe at home. All the men and women are willing to give up their own beautiful life in order to keep us all free and safe. Veterans Day is a great day to remember and recognize all the veterans. All of our freedoms we have are due to the veterans who fought to keep all the civilians safe. Some of the veterans who served gave the ultimate sacrifice in the middle of war or have long lasting mental injuries from the emotional and sad things they have seen and had to do on the front line. They will always have that instinct of what they did to survive in the middle of war. Something that most of us take for granted like having nice dreams when we close our eyes or being able to sleep through the night without having flashbacks.

My great uncle Bob fought in Vietnam and is slowly dying from Agent Orange. This is from a chemical that the U.S. sprayed over Vietnam when he was deployed. I see him at every family get together and watch him fight threw the disease. He suffers with that every day. And he is willing to do that because he served his country. When my relatives get talking about war it brings tears to your eyes and makes you appreciate everything you have. This is the reason we celebrate Veterans Day. Bob doesn't say much, but when he does you know it will be very eye opening or about hunting and fishing. He has told me stories from the war like when he was scared to jump out of the plane so one of his friends had to push him out or another time when he saw his friend dying beside him. Both bring tears to his eyes.

In every war we have lost me. The United States is very lucky to have so many great people willing to serve their country and fight for the freedoms most of us take for granted. It is an honor to have men and women willing to give up their lives to save ours. Every single person who has served in the military is a hero to me.

Veterans Day is November 11. I would like to ask you to call a few veterans that are a part of your life and thank them for doing what they did for you. We celebrate Veterans Day to thank, remember and honor all the amazing heroes that make this great land free!!! Happy Veterans Day everyone and never forget the freedoms we have in the great land of the United States of America.

Michaela Jarvis

When I was given this assignment, I didn't know what to write about at first. My family had never been really involved in the military. I had never really thought about war. I understood that people die. But I didn't really think about it. It was that kind of thing that you knew it happened, but yet you were so oblivious to it. So I took some time to think about it, to really think about it for the first time. I had a couple of realizations. First I thought about the veterans themselves, then I thought about the families, and lastly I thought about freedom. I'd like to share my thoughts with you.

People die. These people had lives. They had jobs. They had families. Then it kind of hit me. They woke up every morning. They went to bed every night. I can't fathom what it would be like to wake up in the morning and wonder if I will ever sleep again. These people died for me. They died for you. They died for America. These people died for something that people took for granted everyday: freedom. I don't want to even pretend like I understand the feelings some of you must have felt the morning of deployment. The feelings you veterans felt leaving everything you had. The feelings your families must have felt. I cannot even fathom being without someone for that long, wondering... "When will I see them next." Or even, "Will I see them again?"

At first I thought, "I haven't felt the loss; I haven't felt the pain of losing someone close to me due to war.  I don't want to pretend like I know how those families, those friends, those neighbors feel.  I didn't feel worthy to write this essay."  Then I remember something very important.  Most of you remember a day several years ago.  I do.  I was in elementary school.  It had been announced all over that a soldier from our town had been lost.  His name was David Day.  I remember walking down the street with my class so we could sit on the side of Main Street as soldiers marched by.  I remember walking to the church and watching the flag being laid on the coffin.  That day has always stuck out in my memory.  At that age I think I understood the meaning of freedom and sacrifice more than I did at this age.  For those of you who knew David, I am sad for your loss.  But something occurred to me now.  Those of us who did not know David very well still came and mourned his death.  We stood as a community.  Thinking back on that day I feel like I was more patriotic than I have since.  I understood loss better.  I understood the sense of community better.  I can still see the crowd of people in my mind

all there are one reason: To honor the loss of one of our community members.

The last thing I really thought about was freedom.  Living in America, we don't think of freedom that much.  Sure we, as students, mumble along with the words of the Pledge of Allegiance, but little do we actually think about what we are saying.  We don't really think about what we have here.   Every day we grumble about going to school when there are kids in less fortunate countries who would do anything just for an education.  We go to lunch and we complain about the food when there are kids dying of starvation.  We go to bed not wondering if we will wake up, but rather what we'll wear or what our plans after school.  We take for granted the things that these soldiers have fought for.  We are so lucky.  Beyond lucky and I am honored to even live in this country.  These men and women had fought so bravely for this freedom, and it's time we started appreciating what we have.

After finishing this essay I have a new appreciation for veterans.  Our country wouldn't be the same without them.  Because of their courage and bravery, and the strength of their families, we now live in this amazing country.  So I would like to say just one final thing: "Thank you."