Delta Middle School hosted its annual Veterans Day assembly on Friday, Nov. 10. This event honors those who have served our country in the armed forces, while highlighting for the students the many freedoms we enjoy because of their sacrifice.
Keynote speaker was Master Sgt. Greg Jackson, who retired from the Air Force in 2002. He said he joined the military immediately following graduation and what was initially a four-year commitment turned into a 22-year career. Jackson is commander of American Legion Post #65 in Delta and a department junior vice commander in the state of Colorado. He wore a vivid red shirt in honor of RED Shirt Friday -- the RED standing for Remember Everyone Deployed. Many of those troops are in Afghanistan.
The five DMS students who have been named finalists in the VFW's Patriot Pen youth essay contest read their entries. This year's theme was "America's Gift to My Generation." Ryatta Davis and Sarah Teel were participating in Knowledge Bowl in Hotchkiss, but pre-recorded their essays for the assembly. Ryatta said the greatest gift to her generation is an umbrella of protection, strength and rights. Sarah said freedom is the greatest gift, and one that must be defended by military force, if necessary. Konner Workman said our ability to stand up, to speak up for our flag, our rights and our nation, is the greatest gift. Hazel Lancaster wrote about the gift of courage and how standing up for what is right is not just for the military, but also young people. Ellie Ames highlighted the gift of hope. Her essay said America has restored hope for millions of immigrants.
Other students played roles in the assembly by offering words of welcome and reading a letter from the U.S. Office of Veterans Affairs. The DMS band, under the direction of Andrew Bruington, played a medley of military songs. From Delta High School came the JROTC color guard and the duo of Thomas Neil and Beki Atchley, who sang the national anthem a capella.
The assembly closed with a short video from history.com, which said 6.5 percent of the total U.S. population has served in the military.