By: Andrea Sullins
On Friday, November 10, 2017, Licking R-8 hosted a Veteran’s Day Ceremony that commenced at 9 a.m. in the new gym building in Licking, MO. The students of Licking elementary, junior high, and high school, along with numerous people from around the community gathered to show recognition and our appreciation for those who have served our country to help make it possible for us to continue to live in a free country.
Girl Scout Troup 10269 led the ceremony with the posting of colors, and we were welcomed to the commencement by Kelly Bonnell who holds the title of Student Council President. Everyone in the gymnasium stood for the Pledge of Allegiance, which was led by Reece Derrickson. The crowd remained standing through the playing of the National Anthem with hands on their hearts and a few tears shed.
Choir Director Briana Adams led the 3rd grade class who stood proud as they sang ‘Yankee Doodle,’ followed by the High School Concert Choir, who sang ‘I Choose Love. At this time, the Veterans who attended had a chance to introduce themselves and tell their branch of service, how long they served, and where they were stationed during active duty. Amongst the many veterans, the crowd had a chance to see young, new faces that have recently joined, and the mature Veterans we have seen and honored in previous years of attending the Veteran’s Day Ceremony. Following the Veterans’ introductions, the High School Band performed ‘Stars and Stripes Forever,’ which was led by Band Director Cathy Payton.
The guest speaker for the ceremony this year was Dr. Arthur Kalfus, Lieutenant Commander of the United States Navy. Dr. Kalfus is from Southern California and originally went to the University of Southern California to be a Dental Surgeon. He decided to join the United States Navy because he wanted to make a difference in the world. He talked about basic training as an intense number of weeks as they try to find out ‘who can survive’ he said. “Long runs in the sand, cold swims in the water, days of no sleep, and a lifetime of challenges crammed into a few months,” Kalfus described. He emphasized how important it was to make your bed each morning. “If you can’t do the little things in life, you won’t be able to do the big things,” stated Kalfus, “If you want to make a difference in the world, start out by making your bed.”
The Patriots Pen Essay winners were Megan Loughridge, who was the runner up, and Kasey Richards holding the title as the winner of 1st Place. Both contestants declared gratitude for those who give us the freedom to dress how we want, voice our opinions, and vote in elections, along with other countless freedoms we have living in the United States of America.
As the Taps rang through the building, tears were falling and hearts were heavy throughout the gymnasium. Brad Cooper, Elementary Principal closed the ceremony with handing out the awards to the elementary classes who won the Door Decorating Contest and by thanking our Veterans for their service and everyone for attending the heart warming ceremony.