ARGENTA — The Argenta-Oreana School District is proud of its rich military history, so members of the high school and junior high showed their appreciation annually with a Veterans Day assembly.
About 90 veterans were greeted with a standing ovation at the Monday morning service as they entered the gymnasium to “America the Beautiful.”
Many students had multiple family members listed as veterans and enlisted soldiers. Sean German, high school principal, read the names of 181 military veterans, both past and present, during the hourlong cere-mony. Family members from the school district were listed with the veterans.
“It’s great to connect the kids with the vets,” said Jennifer Godwin, a Navy veteran who served during Desert Storm who was invited by her seventh-grade daughter, Elizabeth. Godwin understands the impor-tance of the ceremony.
“It makes the kids feel special as well as honoring the veterans,” she said.
Abby Eaton, 12, was especially proud of her veteran. Her grandfather, John Collins, served in the Army during Vietnam. She showed her appreciation by applauding her grandpa. “I was proud of him” she said.
Hunter Pruitt, a 2012 Argenta-Oreana High School graduate, is not a stranger to the event. But this year was different, attending as a private in the National Guard, which he joined while still in high school. Pruitt, 18, presented the national flag with the color guard unit during the ceremony.
Some veterans were invited by family members and friends by special invitation. Others, like Jerry Lutz, attend the ceremony every year. Lutz, a retired eighth-grade English teacher, served in the Marines from 1971 through 1974.
Music was a central part of this year’s ceremony. Choirs from both junior high and high school performed during the event, as well as the high school band and a trio of music teachers. Student Jaelen Myers played the traditional “Taps” after the principal read the names of veterans who have died.
The appreciation was felt by veterans and family members as well.
Nancy Hollon, 74, attended the ceremony with her husband, Calvin, a 22-year Navy veteran. “When I see these kids, I don’t worry about the future,” she said.
Todd Embrey served in the Air Force from 1985 through 1989, part of the time in Turkey. “It makes you appreciate the U.S.,” he said.