Moffat County High School honors Veterans Day, local vets | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County High School honors Veterans Day, local vets

Janelle O'Dea

Bennie Otero, Commander of Craig's Veterans of Foreign Wars, explains Jacob Breslin's (center) role in the 21-gun salute to him with help from Ed Wilkinson, of Moffat County's Veterans Service Office. Otero and Wilkinson served in the Vietnam era, while Breslin returned from his one-year service in Afghanistan on Friday, Nov. 7.

Patriotism was in no short supply on Tuesday morning during Moffat County High School's Veterans Day ceremony and assembly.

More than a dozen veterans visited MCHS to talk about their experience serving and what it meant to them, as well as conduct a Veteran's Day assembly for high school students.

Kelly Pyper's catering 2 class woke up early and prepared breakfast for the veterans from community donations.

Pyper wants to thank Walmart, City Market, Max Bunderson of Bear Lake, Idaho, MCHS food service and her catering 2 class for donating food and working hard to provide a complimentary breakfast for the vets.

After the veterans filled up on breakfast burritos and fruit salad, the MCHS band played the national anthem to begin the assembly.

The Center Stage choir then took it away with the service songs of the U.S. Army, U.S. Marines, U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force. Veterans of each service branch stood and sang with the choir when it was time for their song. Center Stage ended by asking the audience to join them in singing "America, the Beautiful."

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Next, the veterans filled the stage for a Q&A session. A couple of the questions asked of veterans were "what was boot camp like?" and "what was your favorite part about serving?"

"I pretty much served with all branches," Korean War veteran Jim Meineke said. "And thank God for them."

Jacob Breslin, a Craig veteran who returned from Afghanistan on Friday, Nov. 7 after a one-year tour, offered advice to any MCHS students considering joining the military.

"Don't let them (recruiters) tell you what you want to do, because it's your life," Breslin said. "Know what you want to do before you go see a recruiter."

A soldier's cross was displayed on stage throughout the assembly, made up of a bayonet, boots, M-1 Garand rifle, Korean War helmet and a U.S. Marines wrap over the helmet.

Michael Lauson and Mark Wick, both U.S. Navy veterans, Meineke, a U.S. Marines veteran and Al Shepherd, a U.S. Army veteran, conducted the flag-folding ceremony done at soldiers' funerals.

Lauson read what each fold of the flag means. Each of the 13 folds signifies an important aspect of the soldier's life.

After the folding, Cory and Greg Hixson got on stage, where Cory told his story of sacrifice and had students recite a pledge that comes from the "Warrior Strong" project he launched.

In the pledge, students promised to look out for one another and take care of one another. Cory said this attitude is integral to our armed services, as well as America's spirit.

"Every one of you; you have something in common," Cory said. "There is something that unites you."

To end the assembly, a slideshow honoring local veterans generated much applause and cheering from MCHS students. Shortly after, students and the group of veterans headed to the football field for the 21-gun salute and flag-raising ceremony.

Afterward, as the students headed to lunch, veterans basked in the warm sunshine and appreciation from the Craig community.

Contact Janelle O’Dea at 970-875-1795 or jodea@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @jayohday