Pleasanton JROTC Cadets Spends Veterans Day Saying Thanks:
On the 11th day of the 11th month, like many Americans have done so for almost a hundred years across our great land, the Pleasanton Junior Reserve Officers‟ Training Corps (JROTC) cadets dedicated the entire day to recognizing the service, sacrifices, and enduring achievements of all Veterans who serve or had served our Nation in uniform. This year, the cadets said “Thank You” to our Veterans in three venues throughout the day and early evening.
School and Community Recognition and Remembrance Ceremony
This week’s cold front blew across the South Texas brush country during the Pleasanton High School’s Veterans Ceremony, creating a blanket of fog with a mystical, cool mist in the air. The polar vortex may have cooled the day with winter like temperatures, but it could not deter the school’s JROTC cadets from saying a heartfelt “Thank You” to our Veterans.
The Pleasanton JROTC students/cadets recognize both past and present Veterans in their Third Annual Veterans Day Ceremony. This year, the Eagle Battalion’s Cadet Staff chose their theme for the ceremony by proposing this question: “How do we Thank a Veteran.”
“While I can think of hundreds of ways to “Thank a Veteran” said Cadet Captain Cheyanne Bettis, Eagle Battalion Adjutant “Let me just say that our presence here today and showing our gratitude for their service and sacrifices is a very good example of us saying “Thank You” added Bettis.
Assembled in their Cadet Class “B” dress uniform, the cadets paid tribute to all Veterans by not only recognizing those present by their wartime service periods, but with a also with a five cadet Service Flag detail. The Detail ceremonially dipped the flags of the respective Service as a medley of Service Song was played.
“It was very easy to distinguish the branch of Service of our attending Veterans” said LTC (retired) Alan W. Maitland, Senior Army Instructor. “As each Service song was played, the veteran proudly stood with a sharp salute” adds Maitland.
The Ceremony was made extra special by having two student/cadets showcase their musical talents. Cadet First Lieutenant Michael Canales provide a drum roll as the six Cadet Honor Guard marched to the school’s main flagpoles. Once in place, the Honor Detail raised the United States, Texas, and POW/MIA flags as Cadet Krystyn Leal played “Reveille” on her trumpet.
The ceremony was a community invited event with Veterans in attendance from all Service branches and as far back as the Korean War. The student/cadets recognized all attending Veterans and the faculty, staff and administration’s family members currently serving our in harm’s way. Additionally, the cadets provided “Buddy” Poppies to all attendees courtesy of the Poteet Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6970.
Posting Flags and Remembering at the City Cemetery
So often our busy lives do not give us the time or the day to remember and honor our deceased Veterans. Since Veterans Day is a day to honor and remember all Veterans, the Pleasanton cadets ensured those interred at the City of Pleasanton Cemetery were remembered too. As the cadets have done so the last three years during their class periods, they walked across from the school to place United States flags on Veteran’s gravesite. This year, more than 60 deceased Veterans received a flag and salute in remembrance of them and their service to our Nation.
American Legion Post and JROTC Veterans’ Day Ceremony
The student/cadets ended the day of saying “Thank You” to our Veterans by co-hosting a Veterans Day program and dinner with the Atascosa County American Legion Post #436 located in Jourdanton.
The event opened with a warm welcome and introductions by Mr. Adolph Cumpian, Post Commander. This was a first ever joint Veterans Day event for the Post and the cadets who wanted to continue the day of thanking all Veterans. Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Priscilla Hernandez, the Eagle Battalion Cadet Commander served as the evening’s emcee.
The program included several American military traditions that are commonly found in like military related programs. A Cadet Color Guard, commanded by Cadet Staff Sergeant Kyler Hardy “posted” our Nation’s Colors, while Cadet First Lieutenant Michael Canales provided a drum roll. There were many tears wiped during the Missing in Action/Prisoner of War (MIA/POW) table ceremony. As Amazing Grace played softly in the background, Cadet Hernandez and Cadet First Sergeant Joshua Glaser reminded all why we should never forget the 83,161 Veterans who are still unaccounted for from our Nation’s wars. Throughout the audience, Veterans stood and saluted their respective Service as the cadets dipped the Service flags as the Service Medley played a portion of each Service song. Cadet Hernandez asked the audience to reflect upon the words found in the poem “In Flanders’s Field”---the poem that inspired the red “Buddy” Poppies program in 1922. The audience of Veterans and families must have felt reassured that our nation is in great hands after hearing the testimony from three student/cadets that attended the American Legion sponsored Boys and Girls State programs this past June. For dinner, the guest enjoyed a nice hot beef stew, cornbread, and desert. The program closed with the “retiring” of the MIA/POW table and our Nation’s “Colors.”
The family-friendly event was well attended by local area Veterans and their families, plus many out of town guests. The attendees include a “Gold Star” Mom, local government officials, proud parents of the JROTC student/cadets, American Legion members to include Mr. Ricardo Hankerson, 14th District Commander who travelled from Corpus Christi to attend this 1st Annual tribute to our Veterans.
The Pleasanton JROTC cadets extended a very special thanks to Commander Cumpian who came up with the idea for the Veterans Day Program and Dinner and SPC (Ret) Theresa Cruz, American Legion Event Coordinator, who worked the details with the cadets and their two instructors.
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