Raeli Klaire Dekerlegand, an M.E. Norman Elementary School student, is dressed as the Statue of Liberty during a special performance held Monday afternoon at Morgan City Junior High School’s Veterans Day assembly. (Photo by Courtney Darce)
Morgan City Junior High School students, employees and faculty recognized and honored the 21 million veterans and active duty military during Veterans Day ceremonies Monday.
During an assembly at the junior high school Monday afternoon in honor of veterans, a video showed former President Ronald Reagan giving a rousing speech.
“Those who say we live in a time when there are no heroes just do not know where to look,” Reagan said in the video.
Kenneth Holmes, school principal, pointed to where heroes can be found.
“Our country would not be the greatest country on the face of the Earth if it were not for heroes like you,” Holmes said speaking to the veterans in the auditorium and also referring to all the other veterans.
U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Brendon McNelis was introduced by Susan Fromenthal, school librarian, as the featured speaker of the junior high school event. McNelis praised the patriotism he has seen in Morgan City and thanked the citizens for their support of veterans.
“The community support here is phenomenal. You appreciate what veterans are doing,” McNelis said. During the assembly, 40 certificates of recognition and appreciation were handed to veterans who attended the ceremony.
Several veterans wiped back tears as the M.D. Shannon Travel Choir, under the direction of Paula Aucoin and Dana Hardin, sang “God Bless the USA.”
Midway through the performance the audience began standing in respect of the veterans in their midst.
The program was opened with Tayla Weary, student council president, who also gave a welcome to the community and the veterans at the observance. Alex Ho, Insight representative, asked for a moment of silence for all the men and women serving around the world making sacrifices in war and in peacetime. Fernando Torres, National Honor Society president, presented a History Channel film on Veterans Day history and facts, and gave a brief six-question quiz after the video.
Later in the ceremony Morgan City Junior High students Taaj Daniels and Shelldeen Dominguez read their winning essay contest descriptions of patriotism. Toward the conclusion of the program “Taps” was played. The veterans were invited to share in refreshments and fellowship in the school library following the assembly.
While Veterans Day is a federal holiday, state and local governments, including schools, establish their own policies on whether to close or remain open or what type of events and programs are held.
Morgan City Mayor Frank Grizzaffi was pleased with the turnout Monday at city- and school-sponsored events honoring veterans.
“The city and schools have respected and honored the veterans well with all the programs that were held today,” he said after the junior high school event concluded.
Many people confuse Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Memorial Day honors those in the military who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle while in the service of their country.
Veterans Day on the other hand honors all those who served honorably in the military in war or peacetime. Veterans Day is intended to thank living veterans for their service and to show appreciation of the sacrifices made by all who served, not only those who died.
Other parts of the program at Morgan City Junior High included:
—Presentation of colors by the Morgan City Junior High ROTC. The ROTC rifle drill team also gave a performance.
—The playing of the “Star Spangled Banner.”
—Pledge of Allegiance in French and English.
—The Pre-K and kindergarten classes of M.E. Norman Elementary sang an original song entitled Red, White and Blue.
—Performances by the Morgan City Junior High School and Morgan City High School choirs, the Morgan City Junior High School cheerleaders, twirlers, girls’ basketball team and Tigerettes, and the Morgan City High School band.
—Veterans Day poster winners were recognized by David Martin of the Marine Corps League. They include Gabriel Garcia, first place; Ciera Guidry, second place; Matison LeBlanc, third place; Gabby Soileau, fifth place; Colt Gaspard, sixth place; Mackenzie Amador, seventh place; and Alejandro Perez, eighth place.