A teachable moment.
That's what School of the Osage High School Principal Mike Williams said about Veterans Day ceremonies at OHS Monday morning, where veterans were saluted and honored for their service to the nation.
Williams said each time he hears the Star Spangled Banner or the Pledge of Allegiance, he picks out three stars on the American flag to reflect upon the service and the sacrifices of three important veterans in his family ― his grandfather Gordon who served in the U.S. Army; his Uncle Ed who served in the U.S. Army; and his father who served in the U.S. Navy.
Williams encouraged high school students attending the annual Veterans Day ceremony at the high school, and the various guests, to do the same in honor of veterans who have served and who have given the ultimate sacrifice ― their lives ― to ensure the freedom that Americans enjoy.
Like the Osage Middle School, OHS uses Veterans Day not only to salute veterans, but also to teach students about the importance of the day and the sacrifices veterans have made. OHS and OMS craft their programs to be student-centered.
At OHS, senior Zach Perkins spoke of his long-time desire to join the Air Force; sophomore Skylar Webb recited an essay she wrote on the meaning of Veterans Day; the Welcome at OHS was given by Amanda Ottersen, the Student Body President and Austin Hansen led the Pledge of Allegiance.
At Osage Middle School and OHS, the Lake of the Ozarks 148 Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol Color Guard posted the colors.
At OMS, winning Veterans Day essays were presented by eighth graders Segrid Massie, Medeira Miller and Maryn Edwards; sixth grade students constructed a gigantic flag that was on display during ceremonies there; two members of the Student Council participated in a Poppy Field presentation on "In Flander's Field; and National Junior Honor Society students made a presentation to Raymond Bassett, guest speaker and supporter of the Central Missouri Honor Flight.
There were several other activities at both schools Monday morning that involved students.
Bassett said he is a huge proponent of the Honor Flights, which fly veterans from various conflicts to Washington, D.C., to view war memorials.
"I'm pleased to be here, especially on such a momentous day, Veterans Day," he told the OMS students, faculty and guests.
He said many Honor Flight attendees told him the flights and visits to the nation's capitol allowed them to open their lives to feelings they had not shared with even their families.
It was part of the healing process they needed before they die," Bassett explained.
Page 2 of 2 - Pete Leyva, retired Marine and current member of the Osage Beach Police Department, told the Osage High School assembly that he was a peacetime Marine, but "I'm just as proud as any man or woman who served in combat."
He said he was "so proud of those who volunteer to serve" knowing that when they get out of boot camp there's a good chance there will be bullets flying over their heads.
"Some people spend their lives wondering if they made a difference, and as a Marine I don't have that problem," he said.
One thing he regrets from his high school days was not being more involved in high school, urging OHS students to participate in as many activities as possible.