Union County High School Celebrates Veterans Day
For nearly 20 years now, Union County High School has taken time each Veterans Day to welcome and honor Union County's veterans with a program prepared, produced and performed by the students themselves with coordination from Union County General Sessions and Juvenile Court Clerk Barbara Williams.
Williams is slow to take credit for the program, but guest speaker retired U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Dooley Buckner recognized her from the podium, saying, "She has worked tirelessly for almost 20 years to coordinate this event for the students, the veterans and the community."
The school opened its doors to veterans and their families with a reception and breakfast served by students Nov. 10, followed by a program filled with music and inspiration. Slideshows and videos were shown alongside performances by the UCHS chorus and band. Each veteran in attendance was recognized by name from the podium, along with his or her relationship to UCHS students if applicable.
Student Bobby Curry recognized the students who may choose to go into the armed forces after graduation.
"At this school we have many students going on to the armed forces after this, and we should all respect that," he said.
During his keynote speech, Buckner echoed a Bible verse that many veterans hold dear: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." And he called on students to honor veterans' service throughout their lives.
"It can be as simple as thanking a veteran for his service," he said. "But students, before you know it you'll be adults.... Live your lives and be good Americans, and all veterans will be proud to know that their service was not in vain."
Union County Mayor Mike Williams gave an update on the Veterans Place memorial wall that stands on a hill overlooking UCHS and Wilson Park. To date, almost 300 plaques adorn the wall, each representing a veteran. He said the wall is known as far away as California, and it is one of the most-visited places in Union County.
"A lot of local restaurants give free food and discounts to veterans," he said. "I think that speaks volumes about the way people in Union County feel about veterans."
UCHS principal Carmen Murphy closed the program with a simple statement of thanks directed at the attending veterans.
"Thank you for your service, and thank you for letting us celebrate you here today."