School district honors veterans in annual ceremony

Photo by Amy Cherry – Local veterans shake hands with SMAHS students following the school’s annual Veterans Day assembly on Friday.
By: 
Amy Cherry
Staff Writer

Paying tribute to local veterans, specifically those lost to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, was the focus of this year’s Veterans Day ceremony at St. Marys Area High School.
In traditional fashion, the St. Marys Servicemen’s Burial Detail color guard and honor guard marched into the Carpin Auditorium where they posted the colors onstage.
Isabella Ehrensberger, a senior, acted as mistress of ceremonies as she lead attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the playing of the national anthem by the SMAHS Concert Band.
Student speaker senior, Gina Schlimm, noted most people have a tie to someone in the military. For her, both her grandfathers, an aunt, a neighbor, and 10 of last year’s graduates, served in the military, in addition to her older brother, Pat Schlimm, a current student at the United States Military Academy in West Point.
Gina referenced a quote she came across upon her brother’s departure to West Point, “only a few defining forces have ever offered to die for you, Jesus Christ and the American soldier. One died for your soul and the other died for your freedom.”
She continued, stating what the military can do to a person, citing painful goodbyes, PTSD, being misunderstood, missing holidays and birthdays, and not seeing loved ones for months at a time.
“It takes a certain kind of person willing to risk their life for our country,” Gina said. “In our country we have been very blessed with generations of great and courageous men and women who have sacrificed their time and lives so we can continue to live in freedom.”
Currently, thousands of sailors, soldiers, airmen, and Marines are protecting this country and will do so as we are sleeping, out with friends, and during every holiday, all while missing their family, friends, and loved ones back home, she noted.
“These heroes could be sitting across the dining room table for us, the older gentleman eating alone in the corner of a restaurant, or in front of us, teaching us about science or English,” Gina said. “These heroes are not rich and famous, they are something much more. So the next time we think we don’t have any role models in our lives, turn off the screen and look across the table at your parents, brother, sister or grandparent and know that a hero is right before your eyes.”

For more on this story, see today's print edition of The Daily Press.

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