PIERCETON — “On Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018, at around 1:46 in the afternoon, I signed my contract, which would be my first step to living out my dream of becoming a United States Marine,” said Brad Trump from the podium at the Pierceton Elementary School veterans program Monday morning, Nov. 12.
Trump, a senior at Whitko Jr.-Sr. High School, was chosen as a keynote speaker for the event because he was also a former student at PES.
“Enlisting in the Marine Corps is probably my proudest moment, so far,” Trump continued to the gymnasium filled with kindergarten through sixth-grade students, families from within the community, as well as honored guests from each branch of the military.
At each ceremony school-wide, the schools honored the men and women who Principal John Snyder referred to as giants. In his opening remarks to students in grades seven through 12, Snyder said, “Today, we come together to honor giants — not some mythological creature — but these giants are men and women who are willing to risk everything so that people like you and me may be safe. They’re men and women who believe that this is a great country and that we are a country whose ideals need to be protected. And they know that comes with a cost.”
Snyder went on to share that as a former history teacher, this was a special day as it marked the 100-year anniversary to the end of World War I, a moment he recalled happened on the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of the year 1918. War had come to an end. In his remarks, Snyder shared that the war was gruesome and horrible, accounting for the deaths of more than 100,000 men and women killed as new technology was matched against outdated strategies.
At South Whitley Elementary School, veterans stood as their branches of service were called by Cpl. John Snepp and the students cheered with applause. Students watched as men and women stood side by side and were honored for their courage and willingness to volunteer to serve their country.
The student body of SWE sang “You’re a Grand ol Flag.” Additionally, special music was provided by Nelson Reed on his bagpipes during the prelude, while kindergarten students from Vicki Sprunger and Krista Busz’s classes escorted veterans to their seats. Students Bailyey Wright and Jaycie Thomas played taps at both PES and SWE’s ceremonies while the Whitko band and choir performed the “National Anthem.”