West Point Veterans Day Program held with a packed gym in attendance

West Point High School Band plays The National Anthem and Armed Services medley Wednesday morning (Sara Gladney for The Cullman Tribune)

WEST POINT, Ala. – West Points’ Jim Boyd Gym was packed Wednesday morning with students excited to showcase their prepared songs and readings for the veterans in attendance for their Veterans Day program, which was predominantly student lead. Student council president Isaac Hoffpauir gave the opening statement, the Junior ROTC presented the colors and the West Point High School Band played the National Anthem. A welcome was also given by eighth grader Jaelyn Faulkner.

The first-grade classes gave an enthusiastic performance of “I Love My Country” followed by a military service reading by ninth grader Kortni Baker, who stated, “There is a reason why being employed by the military is more commonly called ‘serving our country.’ Risking one’s own life for the betterment of thousands of others is a violent purpose and one that requires incredible courage and commitment.”

While the band played an Armed Service Medley, the veterans were asked to stand when their service music played. A reading was given by 12th grader Ryleigh Jones in which she spoke about the veterans who “for more than 230 years have underwritten our freedom by their duty, honor and selfless service.” The third-grade classes then performed “God Bless the U.S.A.

12th grader Carter Duke spoke about “a war not forgotten,” WWII. He stated, “Many people from individuals to entire nations rose to the challenge and demonstrated unprecedented courage, determination, endurance, diligence, cooperation and a desire to prevail over evil and hardship.” Afterwards, the second-grade classes performed a patriotic medley.

Nathan Marta, an eighth grader, gave a reading called “What is Freedom?”, and the fourth-grade classes performed a musical selection of “Thankful for the U.S.A.”

10th grader Marli Powell gave a reading to the veterans, in which she said, “As Teresa Jennings wrote in her song ‘You are Our Heroes,”—‘what can you say to a hero, to someone who gives so much, what can you say to a hero, someone who sees lives to touch, we can say thank you,’” and introduced the Middle School Choir, who sang, “You are Our Heroes.”

Twelfth grader Jacob Reid concluded, saying, “Let’s all take a remembrance for all veterans who served or are serving in peace time, war time, and gone or still with us. May God bless all veterans, and god bless the United States of America.”

Soloist Riley Jones sang God Bless America.

The poem “The New Colossus” was read by Alissa Stephenson. It reads:  

“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

‘Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!’ cries she

With silent lips. ‘Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’”

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