By Sarrah Peters, News Editor
On Monday, November 11, St. James Catholic School held a program honoring veterans in honor of Veterans Day.
After Principal Michele Adams welcomed everyone and Deacon Fred Williams gave the Benediction, students presented the cross and American flag. Eighth grader Jesse Domingo presented the cross and seventh grader Will Morgan presented the flag while Musical Director Richey Holcomb played “Taps.”
Students were heavily involved in the program. Eighth grader Anahi Saturno led the opening prayer and sixth grader Chantel Jackson led the closing prayer. Sixth grader Yulianna Hernandez read Bible verses from the books of Samuel and Psalms. Fourth grader Kyle Walden, third grader Saleen Mata and second grader Jude Naughton led the Pledge of Allegiance. Eighth grader Erick Gaytan, fourth grader Caiden Byers and fifth grader Kathy Nguyen read quotes, poems and prayers honoring veterans.
Musical performances were given by several student groups. K3 and K4 students sang “See the Veteran,” and the St. James School Choir performed the song “America.” To close the event, Holcomb led the audience in singing the National Anthem.
The event’s guest speaker was John Larkins, who served 30 years in the U.S. Air Force and 15 years in civil service. Larkins comes is the third generation of his family to serve in the armed forces. His grandfather and father served before him.
Larkins reminded the students that there are veterans everywhere, including some of the students’ families.
“It is a pleasure to live with you today,” said Larkins. “I appreciate the honors that you’ve given me and my wife Carol. You must know that there are several people, maybe many people, out here in this audience that could be talking to you about their experiences in the armed forces.”
Larkins spoke about his time serving in Vietnam and told the students that each person serving has their own individual experience and that not every soldier made it back home alive.
“When I was Vietnam from 1968 to 1969, we had 550,000 American military incoming in Vietnam,” said Larkins. “We all had a different experience. Some of us got killed the first day. Some of us never got killed. When you sign up to serve your country, you say ‘I swear to support and defend.’ You are all in. You might be called upon to give an extreme sacrifice. You might not be. But you’re all in.”
Larkins also shared the very different ways that his three uncles served in World War II, driving home the point that each person in the armed forces has different experiences.
“In World War II, I had three uncles involved in the war,” said Larkins. “One of them was in a coastal artillery unit in Texas. Another one was in some other state side duty. The other one parachuted into D-Day. Three guys, same thing. The youngest one jumped out of an airplane into the fight at D-Day. And he lived.”
Larkins ended his speech by sharing a quote from former President Teddy Roosevelt with the students.
“‘Take your part and trust in God,’” said Larkins.