Local veterans honored during annual ceremony

Photo by Amy Cherry - Local veterans from various branches of the service are shown during Friday afternoon's Veterans Day ceremony at SMAHS where they were the honored guests of the school district.
Amy Cherry
Staff Writer

The St. Marys Area School community once again honored our nation's veterans during a special ceremony held Friday afternoon in the St. Marys Area High School's Carpin Auditorium.
The ceremony began with a performance of "Where the Black Hawk Soars" by Robert W. Smith by the SMAHS Concert Band, under the direction of Chris Gankosky.
In traditional fashion, the St. Marys Servicemen’s Burial Detail color guard and honor guard marched into the auditorium where they posted the colors onstage.
Sophia Geitner acted as the program's mistress of ceremonies, leading the crowd with the Pledge of Allegiance followed by the national anthem performed by the band.
"To me the military is family. To me veterans are family and I appreciate their service indefinitely," said SMAHS student Kayla Shutters during her address to the crowd.
Shutters explained her parents and grandfathers are veterans while her sister currently serves in the Air Force.
SMAHS Principal Joe Schlimm presented Jerry Showers of Benezette with a Dutch medal honoring the service of his late brother, USMC Private John Showers, who was killed in Vietnam.
John, a native of Benezette, along with a fellow group of soldiers, were ambushed in October 1967 by Viet Cong soldiers. He was seriously injured while saving the life of a fellow soldier and died five days later. John received the bronze star and is among the 58,000 names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall. His portrait hangs outside the auditorium along with SMAHS graduates Jerry Sain of the U.S. Army and John Paropacic, a U.S. Marine also killed in Vietnam.