GHS honors servicemen, women

SCHool dStudents in grades 7 to 12 piled into the Granville Jr./Sr. High school gymnasium Friday as they have been doing for about six years to celebrate a day, like any other holiday, happening only but once a year.
Yet, the day is unique in itself. It’s a day of remembrance for all the fallen heroes and those currently serving our country in order to make everyone else’s lives more peaceful.
At the front of the gym was a podium for the veterans and other speakers to talk about what Memorial Day is really about. Toward the center of the gym there were chairs set up. Sitting in them were veterans who fought in different wars, but for the same country and the same sole purpose each soldier fights for: Freedom.
Getting the kids involved was one of the biggest goals this year, said Christine Cook, one of the main organizers of the event. Cook’s husband served in the military and her father served in Korea. Alongside her were Jerry Austin, a veteran and Commander of American Legion Post 323, as well as veteran and member of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 1635 Butch Hulbert, who helped organize the ceremony.
“I like students to pause and think about that it’s not just a day off from school, and it’s very important for them to hear from these treasures that we’re losing everyday,” Cook said.
This year, the school decided to do a Patriots Pen essay program, which is sponsored by the VFW. The theme was “Why I appreciate America’s Veterans.” Out of all the essays written, restricted to 7th and 8th grade, three students from Granville—Jacob Vladyka, Kira Gee and Audra Quick—were chosen and their essays have been entered at the regional level. If they are among the top essays at the regional level they could move on to the state and then the national level, where they could compete for up to a $25,000 scholarship.
“We’re hoping kids care about your country and maybe go outside and think about what we have and what others don’t and those overseas who have less,” Hurlburt said.
Getting more involvement from young people is the main goal.
“Without the young people of tomorrow we don’t exist. They are tomorrow,” Hurlburt said.
Another Veteran, First Sergeant and staff member, Stephen Palmer, said seeing all the young people gather around to honor those who have served and are serving, are moments that make him truly proud.
He had the honor of announcing three seniors at Granville who have volunteered to serve including MacKenzie Juckett, Tucker Blowers and Madison Williams.
Near the end of the ceremony, veterans John Norton and Earl Morrow got up and announced 32 names of soldiers who have served and passed away, some of them very close family members or friends and after each name a single bell was rung.
“Freedom is not free. Freedom is priceless. It’s a privilege that has been given to us by those who had made the ultimate sacrifice,” Hurlburt said.

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