Local veterans honored by students

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)-A Region 8 school decided to observe Veteran's Day on Thursday with a very special program.

Ridgefield Christian School in Jonesboro held a school wide assembly the public was invited to attend.

There students honored local veterans in song and acknowledgement of their service.

"We want them to know how much we appreciate them and are thankful for their service to our country, " High school history teacher Jan Hutchison said. "And we just want to make this a special day for them."

The school choir sang "The Star Spangled Banner", followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

Afterwards, each of the veterans in attendance were asked to stand so the crowd could acknowledge and thank them for their service.

This appreciation assembly first started two years ago when a few people within the school felt like they should do something.

Hutchison, "A number of people felt like we should do something and I'm the history teacher and so, they put me in charge of it. I was grateful to get to do it because I'm very patriotic and appreciative of our veterans."

Staff Sergeant Shane Barrow with the 875th in Jonesboro was one of the soldiers in attendance.

Barrow says it's important for soldiers to know they are being supported for both themselves and their families.

"It's good knowing we have support from family, friends and the community," Barrow stated. "It makes it easier while we're away, knowing that our families will and can be taken care of."

Hutchison says not only is important to let veterans know we appreciate them, but the students also walk away with some valuable lessons, "I think it's real important for the students to see that real people and the sacrifice they have made and to start thinking that way and for them to know that they need to be honored", Hutchison said. "That they always need to honor those that have served. The students also learn about patriotism and a love for our country by seeing their example. They learn about sacrifice and I hope they learn a deep devotion to the United States."

Barrow commented that it was great to see support from not only the community, but the students in attendance.

"Without our military, I feel, our country wouldn't be as strong as what we are. And for the community to come out and support the soldiers, regardless of their political views, makes the soldiers feel good. We know that while we are away that we have the support of the citizens of America."

The program concluded with a very special guest speaker, 93 year old Henry Harlin of Trumann.

Harlin is a World War II POW who served in the Philippines.

Harlin spoke to people about when and why he served, his time as a prisoner in Japan and the importance of fellow soldiers.

Well over three hundred people attended the assembly.

262 of those were students.

For additional information about Ridgefield Christian School, log onto this website.

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