MOUNT VERNON — Mount Vernon Middle School held their Veterans Day Breakfast for many family members and local veterans on Tuesday morning.
The student-led event allowed middle school students to serve those who have served the country. This included creating the decorations, helping serve the food and giving speeches.
Chelsea Perkins, a middle school student, gave the welcome address after the playing of the National Anthem.
“We’re here today to honor our service members and to remember the sacrifices they have made and the courage it takes to defend honor, duty, and country,” Perkins said. “We stand in the midst of patriots and the family and friends of those who have nobly served.”
She then presented to each service member a challenge pin, a small token of appreciation from the students. Perkins acknowledged the families of the service members who have lived through difficult times and have taken on the “heavy load to keep the home fires burning.”
Emma Dean, a member of the middle school student council, spoke about the significance of an empty table on the stage. The empty table is reserved to honor those who have gone missing, including prisoners of war and missing in action service members from all branches of the military. The table symbolizes that those men and women are with them in spirit.
Three middle school students, Sarah Misarti, Cooper Curry, and Griffin Beach, read their essays composed for the Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen writing competition sponsored by Veterans of Foreign Wars. The theme of this year’s competition was “What Makes America Great?” In their essays, the students reflected on their own experiences and considered sacrifices veterans gave in order to protect the country.
Misarti spoke about the fears that many first responders and soldiers have to overcome to protect this country.
“Brave immigrants rushing into the unknown from their home countries, already demonstrating the American fighting spirit,” she said. “The same spirit was demonstrated by first responders on September 11… (and) the soldiers trapped inside the capsized USS Oklahoma. These sacrifices and risks were taken out of patriotism and bravery. Our brave citizens are what make America great.”
Curry gave an account of the world wars and the freedoms the American people have today because of the brave men and women who fought to protect them.
“It’s a proud privilege to know that our home, our land, is being protected by our friends and family who are risking their lives every day to protect us,” he said. “I believe that our country is great because of our great veterans.”
Beach read part of the preamble to the Constitution, where he got his inspiration from.
“I firmly believe that American is great because of our drive to form a more perfect union,” Beach said. This drive to create a “more perfect union” comes from the country’s ability to fix mistakes and change.
“In closing, our perfect union is more perfect because we all shoulder the burdens and mistakes to grow stronger as a country,” Beach continued. “We take care of each other. We serve each other and most of all, we care about each other. This is why America is great.”
The event was concluded by the Knox County Joint Veteran Honor Guard. The guard, which provides funeral services to fallen soldiers, held a flag folding ceremony and a 21 gun salute for the fallen soldiers. Odna Roberts-Sipe was presented the folded flag in honor of her son Sean Roberts. Sean Roberts was a Mount Vernon alumni who served in the Army and passed away last year.
The veterans and their families were led through the middle school building where teachers and students were clapping, holding signs, and showing their appreciation to the veterans who served their country.
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