Gold Bar Elementary Veterans Day Program

Honoring Our Veterans: We Will Never Forget. By Kathleen Kohler
Posted on 11/21/2019
Gold Bar's Young Patriots - Photo by Kathleen Kohler

Earlier this month, Gold Bar Elementary (GBE) students presented a Veteran’s Day program to honor the men and women who have served our country in the Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, and Air Force.

GBE Principal Heather Anderson welcomed students, staff, community members, and veterans to the patriotic celebration.

An impressive group of third graders took to the stage against a backdrop of student-created posters showcasing our nation’s military which included photos of family members who have proudly worn a uniform. The students sang “You’re A Grand Old Flag” and “American Tears,” accompanied on the piano by music teacher, Gail Bowers. Their confident voices rang throughout the room loud enough that audience members seated in the last row could soak in their words. 

Everyone stood as local Cub Scout Pack 52 presented the colors, carrying the Washington and United States flags to the front of the auditorium. Scouts along with their troop leader guided the crowd through the Pledge of Allegiance. Facing the flag the audience joined Miss Wendy Scollard in singing a moving rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner.”

Dave Sivewright delivers speech during the Veterans Day Assembly.Dave Sivewright delivered a powerful speech highlighting battles fought to preserve our freedoms from the American Revolution through the War on Terrorism.

“Today roughly 1 percent of our population serves in our military,” Sivewright stated. “As we consider the impact those individuals have and continue to have on the world, defending freedom and protecting democracy, it is worth noting a Winston Churchill quote from 1939 after the Battle of Britain.  This is as true then as it is today, ‘Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."

Sivewright, known as the “Freedom Runner,” is the man many see running Highway 2 carrying the American Flag. To date he and Old Glory have covered over 6,000 miles, running in Vancouver and Ridgefield Washington, Salt Lake City, and for the last 6 years in Sultan. “Pride, Duty, and Honor are my standard,” he states. “Running with our nation’s colors serves as a brief reminder to those who see it that this is the nation of the free because of the brave. It also serves as a story of some 30 million men and women who have served in our nation’s military under this beautiful and awesome symbol of freedom.” 

Over time our flag has acquired several nicknames, including The Stars and Stripes, The Red, White, and Blue, The Star-Spangled Banner, and Old Glory. This symbol of American freedom was the topic of the annual VFW (Veteran’s of Foreign Wars) essay contest. 

Auxiliary President of VFW Post 9417, Colleen Moore, announced the winners of this year’s contest. Third through fifth graders wrote essays on the theme “How I would encourage respect for the American flag.”

From the 4th grade entries Rivaldo Rico won 1st place. His essay stated: “I can encourage other people to respect the American flag by being a leader. One way to be a leader is when we say the Pledge of Allegiance I will stand up, put my right hand over my heart, and say it loud and clearly so everyone can hear me. 

The flag is a symbol of freedom. We need to show respect to the people who put their lives on the line and fought to defend our country. By respect [of] the American flag you are respecting the freedom you are given and the people who fought to give us freedom.” 

Gwendolyn Higuera Lyons took 1st place in the 3rd grade category. In her essay she stated: “The best way to encourage respect for the flag is to be an example. When the National Anthem plays I will stand and face the flag and sing along with my hand over my heart. I will think about those who died or were injured protecting our country. I will be grateful for their sacrifice.” 

Lyons goes on to point out that she can remind people to stand up and remove their hat, and ask them not to talk during the National Anthem.  

Honoring our Veterans. Photo by Kathleen Kohler. 

Following the reading of the essays, Moore invited veterans to step forward, most accompanied by a child or grandchild who attends the school. Proud students introduced their family members who lined the stage and stated their military branch. Pure patriotism brought a flood of applause and cheers from the audience who gave a standing ovation.

In closing the evening, Principal Anderson thanked the audience for coming, and offered a few thoughts. “We all say, ‘Thank you for your service,’ and at times I feel like the words have lost their value, so I looked up thank you to see what the word really means.

The word Thank comes from the Latine word “Tongere” the root “Tong” means think loosely translated. Thank you = I will remember what you have done for me. In other countries it = I am in your debt. I owe you.”

She went on to say when someone apologizes at school there are 3 steps, and that the same process holds true for Thank you’s, as she outlined below.

1. If you don’t mean it, don’t say it. And if you are saying it you are truly saying you are remembering that whatever act of kindness this person did, they did not have to do for you. 
2. Say thank you. 
3. Show you are thankful:
     a. Hire a Vet
     b. Educate yourself on veteran issues 
     c. Educate yourself on the constitution 
     d. Give back to your community; take pride in the land they fought for for you
     e. Volunteer  
     f. VOTE! 

And with that Gold Bar Elementary says thank you to our veterans. We will never forget your sacrifice for our freedom.  

Freedom Runner, Dave Sivewright. Photo by Kathleen Kohler.