An atmosphere of honor and service permeated the cafetorium area of the Ripley Elementary School on Wednesday, Nov. 11 as the school took time out of their day to honor local veterans with a Veterans Day program. Students from preschool through fourth grade gathered in the cafetorium last Wednesday morning for a star-spangled production to honor the local veterans who visited the school.
Those assembled veterans began their day at the school with coffee and breakfast before they were joined by the students, and Principal Aric Fiscus began the program by reading the words of Senator John McCain and then introducing Colonel James Clark, one of the JROTC instructors at Ripley High School. Colonel Clark was accompanied by an Honor Guard who presented the colors as the audience stood for the Pledge of Allegiance.
Colonel Clark then addressed the crowd on the history of the US flag and its importance to everyone.
“The flag is precious to everyone in the country,” Clark told the audience.
He then told a story from the Battle of Gettysburg about the 16th Maine, who ripped up the flag and put the pieces in their pockets just to keep the Confederate soldiers from getting it, before the regiment was captured and then taken to a Confederate prison camp.
“When you see the flag, think of all these veterans who have made your life possible,” said Clark in his talk.
After Colonel Clark’s talk, an ensemble of third grade students moved to the front and performed a perfect rendition of the National Anthem, followed by the kindergarten through second graders performing “You’re a Grand Old Flag.”
The veterans in attendance were then introduced before the third and fourth graders honored them with “Thank a Vet.”
The ceremony concluded with Colonel Clark moving back to the microphone and giving the students a history of the song “Taps,” before it was performed by JROTC Cadet Will Fisher to close the event in a solemn and thoughtful mood.