By Will Johnson
GRAPELAND – With Veterans Day – Nov. 11 – falling on Sunday this year, several area school districts held programs in recognition of those who served on Friday, Nov. 9 while several others will host ceremonies on Monday, Nov. 12.
As a part of the Veterans Day tribute, the Grapeland Independent School District hosted a prayer breakfast for area service members on Friday. All veterans were invited to attend and all branches of the military were well represented.
Held at the GISD Library, veterans representing the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard were present as GISD Superintendent Don Jackson opened the breakfast and thanked those in attendance.
“Today, we wanted to celebrate our veterans by inviting you to come and eat/pray with us. We are calling this a prayer breakfast for our veterans. Basically, we are going to do the same thing as we normally do, but it will we be a little different,” Jackson said.
He asked for a student volunteer to lead the opening prayer and added the message for the Friday morning breakfast would be brought by the veterans. Jackson asked if the veterans would mind “… imparting your wisdom by speaking to our students for two or three minutes.”
After the initial prayer, the veterans began to speak. Some spoke about the opportunities the military had provided and how God had played a role in helping them during their time in the service.
Not surprisingly, many of the veterans were graduates of Grapeland. They spoke about what they did, where they went and some of the things they saw.
There were those who served aboard battleships and submarines. Some drove tanks and armored vehicles while others worked on and flew different styles of aircraft.
A few discussed their time in the Korean War, while others spoke about their service in the jungles of Vietnam.
Some spoke about the tensions of the Cold War and still others talked about the deserts of Iraq or the rugged terrain of Afghanistan. No matter when or where they served, a feeling of comradery with their brothers and sister-in arms permeated the room.
Once the veterans concluded, Jackson commented the students should pay attention to what they had just heard and heed the advice that was given.
“If you look around the room and you see age – age and experience brings about wisdom. That is something you all can take from this. Those that are older than us, can really add so much, if we only listen. I believe that is their goal. If you see the hearts of these men and women, I think that is what they are all about – making life better for those who follow,” he said.
Next, the GHS students encircled the veterans, led them in prayer and expressed their appreciation for those who had put their lives on the line in order to preserve the American way of life.
Following the prayers, a group of Grapeland Elementary fifth graders treated the veterans to a pair of up-lifting songs.
At the conclusion of the musical part of the program, the students were dismissed and the veterans were served breakfast. They regaled each other with tales of times when they wore a uniform, stood a little taller and were ready to sacrifice for the betterment of the United States of America.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.