Hanceville High School hosts Veteran’s Day program Wednesday

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Hanceville’s JROTC presents the colors at Wednesday morning’s Veteran’s Day Program. (Nick Griffin/The Cullman Tribune)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – With Veteran’s Day coming up Thursday, local schools all over the county have been putting together their annual programs to honor veterans and Hanceville High School held its yearly event Wednesday morning. The program included several performances from the Hanceville High School Band and speakers from different military branches on hand to share their experiences and advice.

After an introduction from Principal Daniel Wakefield, Isaiah Carnell provided an invocation, Hanceville’s JROTC presented the colors and Lyla Kate Leusby sang the National Anthem to get things started. Jessica Marshall led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance and Zach Campbell spoke for a few moments about the meaning of Veteran’s Day. The band then played the “Veteran’s Salute”, going through the different songs associated with each branch of service and giving veterans in attendance an opportunity to be recognized.

The first of Wednesday morning’s guest speakers was Senior Master Sergeant Cathi Bradford of the U.S. Air Force. One of the things Bradford focused on when talking about her service was the appreciation you gain for the rights and freedoms we enjoy in the United States once you travel outside the country and see other parts of the world.

“I will tell you, traveling to other countries really puts into perspective how great we have it here in this country,” Bradford said. “All of us, everyone seated here in front of me and behind me, have made great sacrifices for this nation. We’ve missed our children’s birthdays and Christmases. We’ve missed high school graduations and we’ve missed our spouses’ anniversaries but the biggest thing that we’ve missed most of all is the freedom that comes with living here.

The next speaker up to the podium was another member of the U.S. Air Force, Chief Master Sergeant Charles Clingman. He talked about his lengthy career in military service and toward the end of his time he shared some thoughts on ways you can honor veterans outside of thanking them directly.

“A lot of times veterans are thanked for their service, and we appreciate that, we really do, but there’s another way you can show appreciation for our service. When the Pledge of Allegiance is being said, stand up, put your right hand over your heart, say the Pledge of Allegiance and think about the words that you’re saying and what they mean. Think about those things,” Clingman said. “When the National Anthem is being played, stand up and take your hat off, put your hand over your heart and show some reverence to the flag. Nothing is more disrespectful than disrespecting the flag. You may have a right to do that, but it doesn’t make it right. So please, show respect for the flag and by doing that, you’re respecting us veterans.”

Wednesday’s final speaker was First Sergeant of Charlie Company 115th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, Brent Barnett of the U.S. Army. Barnett also told a few stories about his time serving but took time to talk about believing in yourself and overcoming adversity and how valuable it is for everyone to experience that in any walk of life

“Something that my service has done for me is help me realize that I can do more than I think I can and that working hard and struggling to get something isn’t a bad thing. If everything came easily, we wouldn’t really appreciate it,” Barnett said. “It’s in times of struggle and times when you’re not doing that great, that we learn a little more about ourselves. We begin to work harder, and we grow. We grow as a person and in our relationships and so on and so forth.”

The program concluded with a final word form Principal Wakefield and the playing of “Taps”.

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