The Duncan Banner
Coming west down the hill on Bois d’Arc and across Hwy 81 on Monday, a herd of 444 local fifth grade students were heard shouting “U.S.A.!”
This is an annual show of patriotism by the young people of Stephens County and surrounding areas on Veteran’s Day. They end up congregating at Memorial Park, where several area veterans are waiting.
“That’s our favorite part, those kids coming down the hill,” said Daniel Leal, with Duncan Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1192.
Decked out in red, white and blue and each carrying an American flag, the students sit through a program put on by the VFW. This year, the American Legion Post 55 and Disabled American Veterans Chapter 92 joined the VFW in these efforts to educate young people about what veterans have been through and what they stand for.
“These are our future leaders,” said Tom Morse, VFW commander.
One of those young leaders, Trinity Ogle, rose from her seat to give a short oratorical about what veterans are in the words of a fifth grader. The key note speaker for the event was Chris Deal, Duncan Chamber of Commerce president.
“I am honored to speak on this important occasion,” Deal said. “Today, people all over the nation gather together to honor those who have served our great country.”
Deal explained to the students how Veteran’s Day used to be known as Armistice Day, which celebrated only the service of WWI veterans. It was changed to it’s current name and meaning after several other conflicts, which meant there were other soldiers to honor.
“They are called to be a part of something bigger than themselves,” said Deal. “Thank you for answering the call of duty.”
Two groups of veterans the program called special attention to were those of Prisoners of War and Missing in Action. Morse explained some of the horrors POWs face and said they have a special place in the heart of the U.S. Military.
“War is not pleasant and it is ugly,” Morse said.
“Sometimes people are missed and we don’t know where they are. They don’t get to go home and their families get no closure.”
Present to give honor to those two groups were the Stephens County Honor Guard and Stephens County Color Guard.