High school plans daylong Veterans Day celebration | CraigDailyPress.com

High school plans daylong Veterans Day celebration

Collin Smith

Moffat County High School wanted to do more for Veterans Day this Wednesday.

About a year ago, one of the history teachers took students to Europe where they saw several World War II memorials and historical sites, including the beaches at Normandy.

Deborah Roberts, head of the high school social studies department, said the experience left a profound impression on everyone who went, and there was an immediate push upon their return to do something special for Veterans Day from then on.

"We wanted to do something really special," Roberts said. "Something so the kids could meet local veterans, and something local veterans could be a part of."

High school officials have a daylong agenda planned for students, veterans and the community.

The school day begins in classrooms but quickly moves to the auditorium, where the local posts for the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion will read a poem, give a history of Veterans Day, conduct a flag-folding demonstration and sit down for a question-and-answer panel.

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Mark Wick, VFW Post 4265 commander, said he hopes the various activities will impart a new understanding of military service, its traditions and the meaning behind Veterans Day.

One segment explains the Missing Man Table, set out to honor prisoners or war and soldiers missing in action.

Everything on the table symbolizes something different, Wick said. The upturned cup on every Missing Man Table is a nod to the realization that no one will be able to share that day's meal with a missing soldier.

"Veterans Day is important to all veterans," Wick said. "Now the young people are going to have an idea what it's all about."

Someday, some of the students will see Veterans Day from the other side, too, Wick added. He wants to make sure those that plan to serve understand the honor behind being a soldier.

"These kids are in high school right now, and some of them are going to be serving," he said. "They need to know they will not be forgotten."

Wick added the VFW also plans to host a Veterans Day barbecue for the community at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday its post at 419 E. Victory Way.

At the high school, events inside the auditorium break at 10:45 a.m. for a special flag ceremony on the football field. All community members are welcome to the outside service, which begin at 11:11 a.m., a nod to the date for Veterans Day.

Afterward, students reconvene in the auditorium for more activities.

Local veteran Larry Neu will give a biography of U.S. Army Maj. William E. Adams, who was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor after he was killed attempting to evacuate wounded soldiers from a hostile area in Vietnam.

The day finishes with a screening of "Taking Chance," a film about U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Michael Strobl escorting the body of Lance Cpl. Chance Phelps back to his family in Wyoming.

Phelps, who lived in Craig from ages 5 to 17, was fatally shot April 9, 2004, while defending a military convoy in the Al Anbar Province of Iraq.

Roberts said she hopes the event will become an annual tradition at the high school.

"We want to do this as our test and see how it goes," she said. "We want to do this every year. Most people seem really excited about it, and the local veterans are extremely, extremely excited about it."

If you go

What: Veterans Day flag ceremony, taps and gun salute

When: 11:11 a.m. Wednesday

Where: Moffat County High School, 900 Finley Lane

• The school also plans to host other activities in its auditorium from 8:10 a.m. to 2:55 p.m. Not everyone will be let inside the auditorium because of space limitations, but officials said all veterans, active soldiers and their families are welcome.

If you go

What: Veterans Day barbecue

When: 4:30 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265, 419 E. Victory Way

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