ELIDA — For students, faculty and visitors at Elida Middle School’s second annual Veterans Day ceremony, it was all about honoring those who helped secure our freedoms through their service in the military.
The ceremony — one of several veteran-honoring events held Friday throughout the region — brought several hundred people into the school gymnasium, where the school band and choir offered renditions of the national anthem and “God Bless America,” among other patriotic pieces. The hope for organizers is that this event helps students gain a deeper appreciation for the sacrifices veterans make for all Americans.
“Elida has a strong background in the military and a lot of history, with a lot of military family members here participating,” middle school principal Doug Drury said. “I think it’s important that we model that respect for them. We want students to not just witness this, but also participate in it.”
Also speaking at the event was Paulding native and current commander of Lima’s Joint Systems Manufacturing Center Lt. Col. Travis Adkins, who expressed his appreciation for the chance to speak to the students.
“They are the future of our country, and they need to understand that a price has been paid for the way of life and the freedom they enjoy today,” he said. “So I’m trying to impart what it means to serve to them. We have the fortune of living in a very patriotic part of the country, and a lot of people show me that every day.”
Among those presenting the colors at the ceremony was Steve Montgomery, a Marine veteran who served in Vietnam and currently the president of the Allen County Veterans Council.
“It means a lot to know that the schools are taking the time to educate kids as to what we as veterans do and have done,” he said. “I like the fact that the colonel used the pledge we made at the beginning — ‘to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies’ — when we joined, pledging up to our life. We really signed our life over.”
Montgomery noted that the aim of organizations like the Veterans Council is very much in line with Friday’s ceremony, helping future generations appreciate military service members and veterans.
“We feel this is a small portion of what we can do to try to educate people as much as we can and as often as we can,” he said. “It’s a pleasure for us to do what we do.”
Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.