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Honoring those who served
While the headlines and newscasts speak of continuing battles between the Iraqis and Americans, suicide attacks and assaults on soldiers, most of the children at Scott City Schools are far removed from the battlefield.
But they know someone who's not.
Students in Leanne Grant's class have been writing letters to Scott City Police Chief Don Cobb. Cobb is serving with a military police unit in Iraq.
Last year Cobb was a speaker at the school-wide Veterans Day assembly.
This year, student Derek Laxton read a letter Cobb wrote to the middle school. In the letter, Cobb explained his job with the military forces: to help create a police presence in an area that hasn't had one before and to help train Iraqis to serve as police officers.
The weather has been unbearably hot for most of Cobb's deployment in the Middle East. He left Scott City on March 15 and hopes to return by June 2004.
Communication isn't easy because "there are almost daily attacks on the recovery effort," Cobb wrote.
Cobb's letter to the school was just one example students learned about of how soldiers and veterans have worked and sacrificed to maintain American freedoms and to bring that freedom to other parts of the world. Students spent nearly two hours Monday paying tribute to area veterans, listening to fellow students speak about their commitment to America and performing patriotic songs.
The Veterans' Day school assembly started out as a middle school event designed for students to honor the nation's military after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Now that simple service is an all-school event that pays tribute to area veterans, includes guest speakers and a variety of patriotic songs performed by the school band and choir.
During the service, students recited speeches and read essays about what America means to them while another group presented flags to veterans who were in the audience.
The middle school students also presented banners to the city hall, VFW Post and the Missouri Veterans Home. Each banner was covered in small flag stickers, each one listing a freedom for which the students were thankful.
Student Ashley Curnell said having a Veterans' Day assembly is important. "My dad was in the Army and it's important to honor those people who served the country," she said.
Students learned that veterans can be both young and old, serve in all branches of the military and have important jobs to do. Speaker Gary Ziegler, a former U.S. Marine, told students that they don't have to learn to drive a tank or throw grenades to be good citizens.
"You can help by being good students and not being bullies, by being good citizens and registering to vote," he said.
While today is the official Veterans Day observance, the school assembly had to be held Monday in order to accommodate the speakers' schedules.
335-6611, extension 126
Want to go?
Jackson High Schools service is at 9 a.m. in the school auditorium.
Central High School's veterans tribute begins at 9:30 a.m. in the Tiger Field House.
A parade in uptown Jackson will begin at 5 p.m. and includes marching bands from Jackson, Delta and Oak Ridge.