TYLER - Veterans Day is traditionally celebrated on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the date of the armistice that ended the first World War, but since Nov. 11 falls on a Sunday this year, the students of Russell-Tyler-Ruthton High School in Tyler decided to honor the nation's veterans on Friday.
"The price of freedom is very high, and we cannot afford to gorget those who have paid for it," said Shayna Possail, junior class vice president and the first featured speaker at Friday's program. "We can never thank them enough; they protect us and they don't even know who we are."
The event began with a procession of the colors by American Legion, AC Hansen Post 185 and featured reading by students, music by the RTR band and choir, and a special address by Dan Markell, a member of the American Legion Honor Guard and a Vietnam veteran.
Photo by Steve Browne
The RTR student body had a Veterans Day commemorative event on Friday, opened and closed by the Tyler Honor Guard of the AC Hansen Post 185 of the American Legion.
Markell was a crew chief on a Chinook helicopter in Vietnam and tried to relate to a generation that was not even born when he served what he and many others went through.
"Military service was never meant to be my career," Markell told the assembly, "but I have never regretted a day that I've served. We're not asking for honors, we just want you to know we served. Once you have served in the armed forces, you have an honor that cannot be taken away."
Among the speakers was RTR senior Janelle Johnson, who won first place in the school in the Legion's Voice of Democracy essay contest. This year's topic was, "Is the Constitution still relevant?"
"It was something that I was really interested in entering," Johnson said. "I think it's really important to our country, and I just wanted it to explain how important it is."
The student band and choir performed under the direction of Director Adam Christie, who came to RTR just this year.
"I chose everything that was harder than what they'd been doing and pushed them really hard," Christie said. "They did really well. If you set the standards, the kids will meet them."