Butler County salutes its Veterans
Veterans, their families, students, and community leaders gathered on Friday, November 11, at the Butler County High School gymnasium as part of a community Veterans' Day program.
Butler County Schools' Superintendent Scott Howard kicked off the ceremony and welcomed those in attendance. Quoting President Harry Truman, Howard said the debt we owe to our veterans is one that can never be repaid. The superintendent welcomed veterans, described the program as "one of the best we do" and thanked organizer Linda Tyree for her work in planning the event.
"This day is tough for me but special," said Howard. "My dad died before I got the job as superintendent and he was a Vietnam veteran. For that I am extremely proud … wish I could have told him that more."
Mr. Howard described one regret - he and his father had plans to visit the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. but never made it. Howard later did visit the memorial and he looked up all the Butler County names.
In praising veterans and their sacrifices, Howard said, "we are the home of the free because of the brave."
The Parading of the Colors was done by the BCHS NJROTC under the leadership of Chief Jim Melton and Major Robert Redmond.
The Pledge of Allegiance was led by veterans Deanna Embry and Sharone Nash, assisted by Morgantown Elementary students Phoenix Nash, Irvin Sanchez, and Maddox Drake.
"The Star-Spangled Banner" was performed by the North Butler Elementary 4th/5th Grade Choir under the direction of Sandra Crowder. She was accompanied by Jordan Evans and Jennifer Scott.
The Butler County High School Choir, led by director Travis Lowe, sang "My Old Kentucky Home."
The invocation was given by Pastor Joe Tolbert of Cool Springs Baptist Church.
Gail Gaddie's preschool classes perform a patriotic medley of music. They were accompanied by Ryan Himes.
The Buddy Poppy Good Citizens of the Year and Art for Heroes winners were announced by Lynda Duncan Knight of the VFW Post 5837 Auxiliary
Buddy Poppy Good Citizen winners - 5th grade:
Rebekkah Belcher, Stormee Flint, Morgan McKinney, Karlee Cameron, Tera Hampton, Bailey Moore, and Addy Webster.
Student winners had to tell at least five people about the Buddy Poppy and were asked to write a letter to the president or mayor explaining what they would like changes in the country or our community. Winners participated in the Veterans' Day Parade, will get to decorate a tree for the Festival of Trees, and take part in the Memorial Day program.
The Art for Heroes competition had six winners. This year's theme was America the Beautiful.
First Place - Maggie Childers and Bailee Proctor (tie)
Second Place - Hannah Jones
Third Place - Rosa Alonzo-Lucas
Honorable Mention - Blake Inglis and Tristan McClintock
Dana Phelps of VFW Post 5837 Auxiliary recognized Ray Casson as the VFW Veteran of the Year.
Jane Smith recognized James Cartwright as the Butler County DAR Veteran of the Year.
Elaine Daugherty recognized Donald Rufus Phelps as the Green River DAR Veteran of the Year.
Eddy Arnold, who was introduced by daughter Aspen Arnold, was the keynote speaker. Arnold, a corporal in the United States Marine Corps, served from 1983-87. He has also worked 29 years at TVA. After thanking Linda Tyree and the school district for sponsoring the Veterans' Day program, Arnold spoke briefly about what it meant to him to be a veteran. He described his travels in the Marine Corps, various deployments, encounters with others while serving, as well as conversations with those who saw combat.
Arnold concluded his remarks on a patriotic note.
"God bless our men and women serving today; God bless our veterans; and God bless America," said Arnold.
The BCHS Band under the direction of Jason Ausbrooks (featuring Major Robert Redmond) performed "Duty, Honor, Country." The band also played a "Salute to America's Finest," which featured the armed service songs of each branch of service - U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and the U.S. Coast Guard.
Veteran Doug Odle read the names of veterans in attendance.
"It is a privilege to do this," said Odle.
Bryant McClellan played "Taps" following a moment of silence and the colors were retired by the BCHS NJROTC to wrap up the program.
A reception was held in the library following the program. The FCCLA students and sponsors, Mrs. Embry and Mrs. Minton, provided refreshments and served.