A day to honor

TRACY AREA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL students, from left, Avery Otto, Stella Munson, Kirabella Sanders, Avery Varpness, Sam Willhite, Gage Caron and Brice Johnson recite the Pledge of Allegiance at Monday’s Veterans’ Day program at the school. The program included a home made video that included three students searching for the correct way to do the Pledge, as well as a message from kindergarten teacher and veteran Kaitlin Rohlik. Tracy American Legion Post 173 also was on hand to present the colors. Photos / Per Peterson

The young and old alike in Tracy paid tribute to all who have served during separate Veterans’ Day programs Monday

Pastor Chuck Anderson of the Garvin Congregational Church, gave the main presentation at Monday’s Veterans’ Day program at the high school.

Before a trio of Tracy veterans were honored at Monday’s Veterans’ Day ceremony at Tracy Area High School, Pastor Chuck Anderson of the Garvin Congregational Church, reminded the audience gathered in the school’s gym that Veterans’ Day is all about service.

“It’s about putting others before oneself — service before self,” he said, addressing a gymnasium packed with students and community members. “That is what Veterans’ Day is all about.”

Anderson, himself a veteran, also spoke about Armistice Day and what kind of effect the end of World War I had on the country. He said while it was 11 p.m. in France, it was 5 a.m. in New York and 4 a.m. in Minnesota when the treaty was signed.

“But everybody woke up, because the word came in of the Armistice,” he said. “People heard something — what did they hear? They heard bells. Every church bell, every school bell, bells at city halls, fire halls … it was quite a noisy proclamation in small towns and large cities everywhere. People got dressed and went to town to celebrate with their neighbors that the great bloody conflict had ended.”

Then, Anderson said, a congressional proclamation, the first Veterans’ Day was celebrated in 1954 to honor veterans of all conflicts in all periods of time.

Anderson went on to say that all men and women who have served, are serving, or who will serve have a common starting point — something prior to boot camp or basic training: pledging some kind of oath, either in the military or political arena.

“The very beginning of that oath says, ‘I do solemnly swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,’” Anderson said. “Every man and woman who has served, does serve, will serve, pledges to support and defend the Constitution.”

Anderson said a high school is widely revered as a city’s most cherished place and the perfect venue for a Veterans’ Day program, “with the students here, and of course the faculty, the staff … and for the young men and women, who are the future of our country” regardless of whether or not they serve in the military.”

Anderson said Veterans’ Day is a time when Americans need to be reminded of their civic duty to honor the defenders of America and the Constitution.

“Thank a veteran,” he said. “Find a veteran somewhere and thank him or her.”

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.