Local veterans and their families gathered last Friday to celebrate Veterans Day in the brand new Morgan County High School. The community celebrated local veterans for their bravery, sacrifice and unyielding patriotism. About 2,000 people turned out for the event, which featured patriotic songs performed by the MCHS Chorus and Band, and a special guest speaker, Colt Savard, who has served in the United States Air Force for the last five years. Lieutenant and Colonel Derrick Dailey, who is a senior flight instructor and part of MCHS’s ROTC program, led the event, introducing and paying homage to local veterans in attendance.
Savard implored the crowd to thank veterans when they meet them. Savard comes from a long line of military men all the way back to his great-grandfather and was even born on Veterans Day.
“A military veteran is someone who has served honorably in the armed forces, but it means so much more than that,” said Savard. “I see it like this. These mena and women sitting here today are veterans. They serverced while I was just a child—some of them, while my parents were children…they sacrificed their lives to protect us, to protect my family and several generations. Now it is my turn to protect them—to repay with protection.”
Dailey reminded the crowd that Veterans not only risk their lives to serve their country, but miss many important milestones in their own lives and in the lives of their family while serving.
“Everybody sacrifices in way or another,” said Dailey, who has been deployed 15 times to the Middle East. “We endure the physical and mental hardships of training and we miss events such as birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter…Today we are honoring the people who have done just that.”
Morgan County High School Principal Dr. Miki Edwards was honored to host the annual Veterans Day ceremony.
“We are here today to celebrate the patriotism of our county,” said Edwards. “There are not many schools that are doing this today. It is a privilege and honor that we get to do this—that we get to take the time out to say ‘thank you.’ While we are here together as a community, let’s celebrate the people who have helped keep us free.”
According to Jim NeSmith, commander of Post 37 of the American Legion, the Veterans Day ceremony has been held at the high school for about nine years now. Before then, it was held in front of the courthouse, but the school system wanted to take an active role in hosting the event, seizing it as an opportunity to educate students about military service in addition to showing their gratitude to our local veterans.