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Halifax County High School students pay tribute to veterans

“I am honored and pleased to be here today to remember our veterans here in Halifax County and across the nation,” Halifax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Tom West said to a crowd of students and veterans gathered in the Halifax County High School gym Monday morning during the 2013 Veterans Day celebration.

West served as guest speaker, and his speech focused on the many contributions veterans have made to this country and the responsibility Americans have to them.

“Our veterans did not serve for a day only. They served 365 days a year, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Today also the men and women currently in the armed forces continue to serve day and night 365 days a year,” West said.

He expressed the utmost appreciation for veterans and what they have done to serve the country.

“Their commitment and duty to our nation and to us is continuing and enduring. The freedom that we enjoy today and the rights we so freely exercise do not come without truly significant costs. Some of our veterans paid a price with their lives, preserving the freedoms and rights you and I enjoy today in Halifax County,” he said.

West noted many who returned home from war bore physical and emotional scars, while some still suffer from their wounds. He said the commitment and duty of our veterans, whether in peace or war, continues through long dark nights.

“It endured through searing heat and biting cold, through boredom and fatigue at home and abroad,” the board of supervisors chairman said. “They continue their duty to our nation and continue to shoulder the duty and responsibilities of a free nation. We also must continue to meet our obligations and responsibilities.”

He said the best way to honor veterans is by supporting the freedoms and rights that Americans enjoy.

“Some of you who are members of the Halifax County High School Junior ROTC may be called to enter the armed forces and to serve our nation in that manner. I commend you,” West said.

According to West, everyone has a continuing duty to serve Halifax County and the nation.

“We have a responsibility to these veterans and to each other to assure that our freedoms endure. We cannot be free without responsibility,” he said. “Each of us must use the talents we have been given in a responsible manner. We learn, and we grow, and of course we all pay taxes to support the services we use and rights we cherish.”

It is duty and responsibility that preserve all that is enjoyed about life and a free society, West said.

“When we leave here today, let’s remember to continually honor our veterans and let’s continually remember that each day we all have a responsibility and role in supporting our freedoms,” West said before closing his speech by thanking all the veterans.

Also during the program Monday morning, JROTC Cadet Second Lt. James Halasz gave the call to order followed by the presentation of  the  colors by the JROTC Honor Color Guard who also performed the retiring of the colors. 

The Halifax County High School chorus sang the national anthem and “God Bless America,” and students were led in the Pledge of Allegiance by LET I Cadet of the Month Aaliyah Hamlett. 

Cadet Lt. Colonel Sharle Claiborne welcomed those attending, and former American Legion District Post 8 Commander Wayne Bowen led the presentation of the wreaths. 

The Halifax County marching band played a patriotic sequence, and Cadet LTC Claiborne introduced guest speaker Tom West.  Principal Albert Randolph gave closing remarks.

Halifax County High School veterans honored during the program included Calvin Bruce, Bill Culbert, Linwood Davis, Floyd Fields, Thomas Harmer, Edward Holt, Sam Lowery, Hubert Pannell, Warren Penick, Billy Reagan, Michael Roark, Alvin Sykes, Wanda Vaughn and Andre Williamson.

Prior to the program the Halifax County High School drama department presented a play entitled “A Piece of My Heart” by Shirley Lauro in recognition of all the men and women who several the country with pride and dedication. 

The play focused on true stories of six women sent to Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

The cast included Jessica Hinds as Martha, RaeAnn Inman as Maro Jo, Emily Slayton as Sissy, Katie Holland as Whitney, Kayleigh Long as LeeAnn, Alishia Ewell as Steele, Christian Roach as man one and Jason Fittz as man two.

The stage crew included Stage Manager Sydney Little, Jehmi Tucker who was in charge of sound and Sarah Brogden who was in charge of lights.