Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Exeter Veteran's Day Program

Once again area veterans were honored at the Exeter-Milligan gymnasium for the 2009 Veteran's Day Program in Exeter.

Junior Amanda Dinneen opened the program welcoming the crowd and leading the pledge of allegiance.( first picture)

The trio of vocal students Meghann Miller, Mariah Ruhl and Ashley Miller sang the star spangled banner including the second and third verses. (second picture)

Exeter-Milligan school counselor and Vietnam Veteran Tim Wilbeck (third picture) eloquently spoke to the crowd on the theme of "ordinary people doing extra-ordinary things."

Wilbeck asked the veterans in the crowd to stand, then asked those who were related to the veterans to also stand and then those who knew the veterans to stand. Everyone in the gym was standing, showing the impact that the veterans have had.

He told the story of Greenwood, Ind. native Clay South who was injured five years ago in Iraq sustain extensive facial wounds from close fire and a grenade explosion who has created "Veterans of Valor" and despite 40 reconstructive surgeries and continuing medical challenges "spends most of his time visiting fellow servicemen in hospitals bringing them backpacks of items like ipod's and portable playstations. He continues to accomplish extraordinary things but he is by no means alone."

Wilbeck noted the many veterans who now run companies like AOL and Federal Express who "honed their leadership skills in the military."

He reminded the crowd that men are not the only members of the service anymore. He told the story of Army Specialist Monica Brown, who while she was still a teenager and medic in Afghanistan she "ran 200 yards to a burning Humvee and helped pull the soldiers from the burning vehicle and performed lifesaving first aid." She was awarded a silver star for her efforts.

Sometimes with our military taking the brunt of the brutalities of war those at home might forget that it was "America, not the American military that Al Queda declared war on," said Wilbeck.

In his closing thoughts Wilbeck repeated the famous words of Churchill "so much is owed by so many to so few" and charged the crowd to honor veterans with deeds and not just words.

Prior to the band playing the theme from and Schindler's List and Pride of the Corps band director Mr. Shane Whitford explained the story behind the movie Schindler's List.

Junior Kelsey Moore closed the program.

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