"We stand in the midst of true patriots and the family and friends of those who have nobly served," said Jen Ervin, Delta Middle School principal, as she welcomed those gathered for a Veterans Day assembly at Delta Middle School. While veterans were small in number, over half the students and faculty members stood when family members of active and retired service members were recognized.
The Delta High School JROTC opened the assembly with the presentation of our nation's colors, followed by a lovely rendition of our national anthem by DHS students Thomas Neil and Beki Atchley.
Ervin introduced the guest speaker, a student teacher who is new to Delta Middle School. Kurt Ruffley, a social studies teacher, is a veteran of the Navy and the Army. He said it's something of a family tradition to step out of the uniform and into the classroom.
He said the generations of men and women who have served this country have in common the traits of courage, pride, determination, selflessness, dedication to duty and integrity. They joined the military not because they like war, but because were called to be part of something bigger than themselves. They are ordinary people who responded in extraordinary ways to extreme times. Today's service members follow in the footsteps of these brave men and women, defending our freedoms and our way of life, he said.
Ruffley quoted President John F. Kennedy, who said the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. "This is the greatest challenge each of us faces every day, none more so than the families of those serving," Ruffley said.
"It's often overlooked the struggles that service members' families face when they are away. Life must go on, even without mom, dad, brother, sister or loved one around. The struggles they live each day knowing a loved one could be in harm's way is a reality for these families. Thank you for what you've done."
Four DMS winners read the essays they submitted to the VFW's Patriot Pen contest. Jillian Carlson, Mia Yost, Kayla Miller and Kelsi Esplin shared their thoughts about this year's theme, "The America I Believe In."
The assembly concluded with a preview of the film festival sponsored by The Nature Connection. The goal of the organization is to help kids enjoy "our beautiful America, which we celebrate today," said director Anita Evans.