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Carrollton elementary programs also provide history lessons
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By Carol McIntire
Carrollton elementary students honored veterans and received a lesson in history from those who served during Nov. 11 ceremonies.
Students in grades 1-5 gathered in the gymnasium for the annual celebration, kicked off with individual readings by students. Fifth grader Haylee Lucas capped off the readings by introducing her guest for the day, her cousin, Ben Bryan, the keynote speaker.
Bryan, a member of the Ohio National Guard, turned his remarks into an interactive presentation, asking students to name the five branches of the military and rewarded those who answered with flags on his uniform and those of his friends.
His lesson noted a decline in the number of veterans living in the United States from seven percent to one percent since 2011.
“Who are veterans and what do they look like?” he asked the group. “They come from towns like Carrollton to big cities like New York. They are men and women who all have one thing in common – a willingness to serve their country and sacrifice for you and me,” he said.
He encouraged the students to do their part in the community by being kind and thankful.
“One of the best ways to celebrate is to be part of a Veterans Day celebration and keep the tradition alive,” he concluded.
Traditionally fifth grade students walk to Westview Cemetery for a program on the 11th hour of the 11th day on the 11th month presented by officials of American Legion Post 428 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Fighting McCook Post 3301.
Steady rain forced the program to be moved to the Bell-Herron gym this year. Members of the local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops escorted veterans into the gym where veteran Tom Barnett shared the story of veteran Noah Shanavez.
“…It’s a sad story…a true story…just happened this past summer…July 31 to be exact in town of about 8,000 in Elwood, IN,” he related to the group.
“Shanavez graduated from Elwood High School in 2016, joined the US Army, runs through basic training and the Army sends him to AIT (Advanced Individual Training) and he becomes a 95B, a military policeman.
“He serves five years in the army and is honorably discharged, returns back home to Elwood and graduates from the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in 2022. He is hired by the Elwood Police Force.
“Noah is on the day shift July 31. He is patrolling downtown Elwood, notices an artist painting a large American flag mural covering the exterior or side of a building in downtown. Noah exits his cruiser and briefly converses with the artist. The artist thanks Noah for his military service and the two continued on about their business. Noah drives on in his police cruiser.
“A short time later, Shanavez pulls over a suspicious vehicle. As he walks up to the suspicious vehicle, the driver, an ex-con, pulls a loaded gun and hits Noah with one shot and leaves him for dead. Noah is life-flighted to an Indianapolis hospital, but later dies.”
Barnett shared that, when the artist painting the mural, learned of the death, he dedicated it to the fallen hero and veteran.
“Noah Shanavez was the embodiment of service and sacrifice, Barnett stated. “He was not alone. The U.S. Justice Department estimates 25 percent of the law enforcement officers have a military background. Bravery and dedication to community are common among veterans. Many vets serve their communities as first responders, teachers, health care workers and church leaders. Some are business owners, farmers, factory workers or retirees. Veterans are everywhere in society,” he said. Barnett closed his speech with two closing thoughts:
What does the Bible say about veterans?
“Nothing. I cannot find it mentioned per-se. However, the Bible does say Freedom is a gift from God, in both the Old and New Testament. So, there you have it. Freedom and veterans go together. You cannot have freedom without veterans.
What did World War II General George S. Patton (3rd Army Commander 1944-1945 France/Germany) say about veterans?
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the veteran. Rather we should thank God that such men and women exist.”
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