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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Jayhawk event honors veterans in words, song and music

Nearly 20 veterans attended a Veterans Day event hosted by the Jayhawk-LInn High School FFA on Friday, Nov. 10. (Photos by Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)

By Roger Sims,

MOUND CITY – The Jayhawk-Linn High School FFA chapter hosted one of the several Veterans Day celebrations held by schools across Linn County on Friday morning, Nov. 10. A separate event hosted by Jayhawk Elementary School sixth-graders was held in the afternoon.

At the JLHS event, nearly 20 area veterans attended the event, many of them sitting in a floor-level section in the school’s gym reserved for veterans.

Greenhand officers Treyton Poole and Chloe Riley presented the flags to open the ceremony, followed by the singing of the “Star Spangled Banner" by the choir, and the invocation by Denton White, FFA sentinel. Principal Bob Beckham’s opening remarks were followed by the choir’s performance of “Colonel Bogey’s Grand Old Flag,” a rendition complete with kazoos that offered a light moment in the ceremony

The audience stood during the playing of the "Star Spanged Banner."

The choir then performed “I Lift My Lamp” and “America I Give My Thanks to Thee,” followed by the reading of a poem, “The Best on Earth,” by Taryn Poole, FFA president. The JLHS cheer team performed a patriotic tribute choreographed by team members Danielle Slinkard and Camryn Thomas.

The band then performed two numbers, “American Flourish” and “For Our Heroes.”

Lt. Butch White, a detective with the Rusk County, Texas, sheriff’s department, gave the keynote address. White, who served with the U.S. Army Military Police including a tour in Iraq, talked about the importance of the military whose members comprise about 1% of the nation’s population.

Lt. Butch White, a detective with the Rusk County, Texas, sheriff's office gave the keynote address and FFA officers, from left, Adison Randall, Denton White, and Taryn Poole listened.

He also talked about the importance of embracing core values that Americans should embrace, including respect, integrity, accountability, reliability, and loyalty. He recounted his time guarding captured Iraqi soldiers, who were Muslims, and how he and his fellow MPs respected their right to pray as many as five times a day.

He said that at the end of his enlistment, he was told by his commander, “You’ve been a good soldier. Now go home and make a difference.” He chose to continue his work in law enforcement to fulfill that charge.

He also said that it was important to have hope as well, noting that there are many people who want to divide Americans against each other.

“We have to stand united for our democracy to remain strong,” he said.

Madelyn Quinn, left, and Chloe Riley fold the U.S. flag as Adison Randall reads the meaning of each fold.

Following White’s address, Greenhand officers Madelyn Quinn and Chloe Riley demonstrated the official method of folding the U.S. flag while FFA treasurer Adison Randall described what each fold meant.

“Marches of the Armed Forces” honoring the branches of the military was performed by the band, followed by a haunting performance of “Echo Taps” played by band members Alieah Gillis and Callie Holt. Taryn Poole ended the event with a farewell and FFA members retired to the school commons to serve veterans in attendance refreshments.

Alieah Gillis, front, and Callie Holt play "Echo Taps" at the end of the program.

More scenes from the event.

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