For over a month students in Lake Stevens High School’s leadership class have been preparing for the annual Veterans Day assembly. Invitations, press releases, decorations, musical presentations, speakers, parking, student greeters, breakfast buffet and coffee…… lots and lots of planning.
As Veterans were escorted into the gym they couldn’t help but see the stars that adorned the hallways with the names, branch of service and location of where family members of students have served. Once in the gym the entire east wall had a United States flag hung which students had made out of paper as a backdrop for the stage. The stars on this flag included the names and branch of service of the Veterans who were in attendance.
Veterans and leadership students had a chance to talk and share some breakfast before the student body arrived for the celebration.
To begin the assembly, LSHS senior, Mawuli Attipoe, welcomed Veterans and introduced the band and choir. Student leader Jessica Fuller introduced Boy Scout Troup 187 who presented colors and the Lake Stevens Jazz Choir sang the National Anthem, directed by Heide Forslund. The Armed Forces Salute, directed by Neil Proff and arranged by Bob Lowden, was played and veterans stood at attention while the song from their branch of service was played.
LSHS senior, Sam Smith, thanked the men and women who have served in our military. She commented, “Every military family serves in their own way, providing love and support behind the scenes; being away during holiday times is a sacrifice, but it ensures our freedoms.”
Her comments were followed with a performance of Song for the Unsung Heroes by the LSHS Concert Choir.
Loren Sperry, State Commander for The American Legion-Department of Washington, was the guest speaker. He served in the US Army from 1969 - 1972 and had a tour of duty in Vietnam. Sperry has lived in Washington for 38 years, is a long time Lake Stevens resident and member of the local Post 181 American Legion.
He recognized students that have participated in Girls and Boys State, a leadership program sponsored by the American Legion, and encouraged students who are juniors to apply this year.
He shared that Veterans serve every day, and gave examples of service that are occurring today to support the East Coast in the wake of Sandy, and Veterans who are now our first responders working in the fields of law enforcement and with fire departments.
He encouraged the students to simply thank a veteran, all 23 million who are living today deserve our thanks and support.
Over 50 veterans were in attendance, seated in the center of the gym and after the key-note speech, had an opportunity to introduce themselves and what branch of service they served with.
Branches represented included the US Air Force, US Army Reserves, US Army, US Air Force Reserve, Canadian Forces- BC, US Navy and Marine Corp.
The culmination of the event had 15 LSHS students presenting a paper chain over 40 yards long to the Veterans. Each chain had the name of a person who has or is currently serving in the military.
In closing, Sam Smith shared with the Veterans and students, “This chain will be placed in the commons next week and we hope that each time you see it you will remember how we are linked together in gratitude to each family represented in the chain.”