photos by Emilee Allen and Kate Martin
Brayden Amberger takes a selfie with the American Legion Color Guard during the Veterans Day breakfast at Perry County School District 32.
Perry County School District 32 hosted its annual Veterans Day observance today. The Perry County Middle School National Junior Honor Society and Perryville High School cafeteria served breakfast, which was followed by a ceremony on the football field.
PHS students wait for the veterans to arrive at Pirate Stadium on Wednesday, Nov. 9.
The guest speaker was Chris Cairns, a PHS teacher and US Marine Veteran, who spoke on what it means to be a patriot.
Mrs. Chris Cairns, PHS teacher and US Marine veteran, was the guest speaker for the 2022 Veterans Day ceremony.
“It is an honor and a privilege to be an American,” she said. “The freedoms we enjoy as Americans are something other countries do not provide their citizens. We are free to speak our minds. We are free to question things. We are free to be whom we want to be, as long as we put in the work to reach those goals. Freedom is what America is known for, and why so many love this country.
“That freedom is what these veterans and the current military fight to protect. Not the freedoms of one person, but the freedoms of all Americans, even if we don’t agree with their viewpoint. Veterans don’t sacrifice just to protect those people who think like them. We sacrificed to protect the values of our nation.
“Every veteran is a patriot. Every citizen who loves their country and will stand up for what is right is a patriot. Each and every one of us can be patriots. Many of you students may be asking, ‘How could I be a patriot? I am just a kid.’ Your patriotism shows through how you honor the sacrifices veterans have made to honor and protect our country and our freedoms. Study history. Learn from it. Think in terms of ‘we’ instead of ‘me.’ And stand up for what is right,” Cairns said.
She told the students that we can all be patriots by caring for our community.
"If each and every one of us is a patriot in our community, then we will end up with a country full of people who take pride in their nation and make sacrifices to ensure that it is always an honor and a privilege to be an American," she said.
Primary students (Grades PK-2) performed "Put Your Hand On Your Heart" for the veterans.
The PHS band plays the national anthem to start the ceremony.
The veterans were treated to performances by the district choirs and band, including a rousing rendition of "Put Your Hand On Your Heart" by the primary students who proudly waved their American flags. The PCMS Choir performed “America the Beautiful.” The elementary students performed “The Armed Forces Medley,” and the PHS Band performed “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The PCMS Band performed "Armed Forces March."
Nicholas Cowell, principal at Perry County Middle School, served as the emcee, while Superintendent Andy Comstock delivered the welcome, and Deputy Superintendent Dr. Fara Jones gave the closing remarks.
Veterans listen to a performance by the PCMS choir.
Students invited their special veterans for breakfast and the ceremony.
Miley Hooten has breakfast with her grandpa Curtis Hooten, Sr.