OJR honors veterans with 11th annual ceremony
SOUTH COVENTRY >> As businesses, organizations and individuals celebrated veterans across the country Friday, local schools were no exception.
The 11th Annual Veterans Day Ceremony began at 11:45 a.m. with opening remarks from Owen J. Roberts history teacher David Schwenk and Superintendant of Schools Michael Christian.
As Naval ROTC students lined the walls of the Owen J. Roberts High School auditorium, veterans and students sat attentively while guest speakers addressed the importance of the day and reminded the audience about the sacrifices that have made our freedoms possible.
“I think we can safely say that regardless of your political affiliation and all the news that took place this week, we can agree that our veterans have pledged their allegiance and their dedication to our country time and time again through their service,” said Christian.
Veterans and students were also addressed by government officials, including state Sen. John Rafferty, R-44, of Collegeville; U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello, R-6, of West Goshen; state Rep. Tim Hennessey, R-26, of North Coventry; and a representative for U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.
“This day is a teachable moment for our young adults because it’s our opportunity to go back in time and look at how and why we are the country that we are and how special it is to be an American because of the victories we’ve had in times of war and the sacrifices that have been made during peace time to preserve those freedoms,” said Costello.
Following an address by each guest, the Owen J. Roberts choir performed patriotic pieces such as “God Bless America” and a video demonstration depicted the importance of a soldier’s sacrifice in preserving freedom as a reading of A. Laurence Vaincourt’s poem, “Just a Common Soldier” accompanied the images.
Veterans were later directed to the school’s instruction room for a catered lunch following a performance of taps that left some attendees with tears in their eyes.
“These successive wave of veterans made America better and stronger. Their service to our nation didn’t end when their military service ended. Our veterans carried that pride and their love of country forward and we’ve been rewarded with the greatest country in the history of mankind,” said Rafferty Friday. “The nation our veterans have built for us, defended for us and protected for us is the envy of people around the world and tomorrow’s America will be even better.”