On Wednesday students at the Damascus Elementary School held a Veterans Day ceremony to honor veterans.
-On Wednesday students at the Damascus Elementary School held a Veterans Day ceremony to honor veterans. The assembly was run by the students and was lead by Brea Rutledge, who was the Master of Ceremonies. Fred Smith, along with Boy Scout Troop #122 and Cub Scout Pack #110 in Damascus Township, posted the colors. They also led the Pledge of Allegiance with Blake Lipsmeyer. The fourth grade class sung the Star-Spangled Banner. Different students took part in different presentations throughout the ceremony. Various peers were readers at the ceremony. Joey Rutledge read, “Veterans Day,” Julia Polt read, “The Lesson,” and Kirsten Gager read, “The Story of Taps.” The fourth grade had several music selections as well, including “America (My Country 'Tis of Thee),” “You're a Grand Old Flag,” and “This is a Great Country.” Carmen Rutledge introduced a visual presentation called “If You're Reading This.” Country artist Tim McGraw wrote the song as a tribute to veterans and first performed it at the 2007 American Country Music Awards. Brea Rutledge introduced Robert B. Gross, who was the principal speaker during the ceremony. Gross was a member of the United States Army for three years as a military policeman. One of the messages he shared was that he was always told, “your country doesn't owe you anything; you owe it.” “You are the future of this country,” Gross told students. “Your teachers and parents are shaping you up to be the best you can be.” Gross was happy to be part of the ceremony. “Thank you for having me,” he said. “It's an honor. I take pride in being here to honor veterans.” After he spoke, he was given an award from the school, honoring him for his service. Several students followed with “An Island of Thanks Project” presentation. They each held a flag and dedicated it to a family member who served and said something that makes them proud of that family member. The students involved were Aviana Spry, Lily Taraschuk, Joey Taraschuk, Katie Crum, Abigail Price, Samantha Crum, Kaitlin Price, Chloe Hedgelon, Leah Jay and Jason Hunter. Another visual presentation followed, introduced by Michael Kirk. It was about “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” The song, sung by the Andrews Sisters, is about a “fictional famous trumpeter from Chicago who gets drafted into the army and becomes his company's bugler.” However, he can't play without a band behind him, so a sympathetic captain “transfers in some hip players, and from then on, Company B swings into its daily routines.” The song became famous when the Andrews Sisters performed it in the 1940 Abbott and Costello movie Buck Privates, which was what the presentation showed. The third grade also sang some musical selections including “America, the Beautiful,” “Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor,” and “God Bless America.” Everyone was then asked to stand and the third grade sang the Damascus Alma Mater. After Kirsten Gager read “The Story of Taps,” Chris Gallo played Taps. A moment of silence followed.