TERRE HAUTE —
Nick Agresta enjoyed Friday morning’s Veterans Day program at Honey Creek Middle School.
A U.S. Air Force veteran of the Vietnam War and the Cold War Era, Agresta attended the program in part to pay tribute to veterans, current service people, and to veterans of the past.
“I really appreciate the effort that was put into this program,” Agresta said as veterans and the student audience left the school gymnasium where the 181st Intelligence Wing honor guard had participated. “This was structured and so sweet.”
But he really appreciated the reaction of his granddaughter – student Hailey Morgan Agresta – who gave her veteran grandfather a big hug before heading off for the rest of the school day.
“I’m so glad they do this so a young person can see what it’s all about,” Agresta said of the service honoring veterans. “It’s gonna be fun to sit down and talk to Hailey Morgan about it tonight and see how she felt about it.”
That’s part of the response that social studies teacher Dale Brown hopes for each time he organizes the school’s Veterans Day program.
Led by eighth-grade students, Brown said he tries each year – this is the 16th – to get the students involved so they will appreciate the sacrifice made by America’s service people.
The service also honored local police, fire and emergency services people who also work daily to keep citizens safe at home.
Among the presentations was the five-service hat table ceremony, which is a table set for five people to represent a missing service person from each military branch. The honor guard presented that ceremony, in which a hat was placed over the empty plate at each setting, and the drinking glasses were inverted to symbolize the inability to share.
North Vigo High School senior Abby Scott performed two songs — her original “Young, young, young” and the traditional anthem “God Bless America,” bringing the audience to its feet.
Student Adam Zhang read his winning essay from the contest “What Patriotism Means to Me.”
Zhang, who was born in China and moved to America a few years ago with his family, stated that patriotism doesn’t just mean being brave on the battlefield, but also being a good citizen by volunteering and getting involved in one’s community.
“Patriotism means the love we have for our country, this wonderful earth that God has presented to us,” Zhang said.
Special guest speaker Patrece Dayton also shared her personal story of becoming a television news anchor despite the doubts of others that she would be successful. She said that she is thankful for her success, and she recognizes that the efforts of veterans has made her job possible in a free nation.
Vice principal Mark Schimmel encouraged the Honey Creek students to appreciate veterans and their service.
“There is no greater honor than serving your country,” Schimmel said, adding that he now regrets not making that commitment years ago.
Students Olivia Dillion, Hunter Duncan and Terry McLaughlin said they enjoyed the ceremony and the honor that the students showed to veterans, especially those attending the program.
“”I think this program really reiterated that we need to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave, and we wouldn’t be in school like this without our veterans,” Dillion said.
“I think that we learned the true definition of what being a patriot and a veteran really means,” Duncan said.
Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or email@example.com.