The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Veterans speak at WHS

 

November 16, 2017

Diana Zimmerman

The senior class honored local veterans with a candle lighting ceremony. Two seniors Kishor Wolf and Grayci Thomas with the passing of the flame.

Wahkiakum High School honored district employees at their Veterans Day assembly on Monday. Four of them, representing each branch of the military, were invited to speak.

Marine Sergeant Joel McEntire is a middle school teacher.

"I'm not a veteran, by definition, McEntire told students. "I said I would serve for eight years. I have served for six. When I have faithfully served my time, and am no longer active on the reserve status, then I will be considered a veteran."

He compared service to running a marathon, a race that needs to be finished. He spoke of looking up to veterans, because they have finished their race.

"You can still be a veteran of sorts," McEntire said. "If you say you are going to do something, you have an obligation to finish it. If you say you are going to finish high school, finish high school. If you say you are going to turn in an assignment, turn in the assignment. Too many problems in society, in my opinion, is because there is a quitting mentality. Veterans don't quit. They hit resistance, they get the help they need, and they keep pushing forward.

Air Force Airman Kasie Thompson is a member of the support staff at the school district.

"My military experience shaped me," Thompson said. "You respect the uniform, even if you don't like the person wearing it. If you remember to show respect to the position a person holds in your life in that moment, it doesn't really matter if you like that person or not, you're going to get what you need."

She told students who were considering service: "Whatever you go into, go into it with an open mind and open heart, I guarantee you will not be disappointed by your service. You will see the world, you'll get to experience people from other cultures, from other walks of life, from other religions. It will change your life, and for the better if you let it. It did mine, 21 years ago."

Navy Commander Brent Freeman is the district administrative director.

"Everything I did while I was in the military, anything I accomplished was possible because of you," Freeman told his fellow veterans. "I can't tell you how many times over the course of my career when I felt like the chips were down, or when fear, frustration, or confusion caused me to pause, that I would have to catch my breath and remember the hardships that you bore. I've had the honor to listen to the stories of bravery, survival and endurance from those who served before me. I greatly appreciate the collective costs you paid and I want you to know that your efforts of loyalty energized me throughout my career. Because I knew what you did, I knew I could."

Army Lieutenant Colonel Mike Thomas is a teacher.

Diana Zimmerman

Air Force Airman Kasie Thompson told students about her service. She excelled in marksmanship and received training to be a sniper before women could go into combat.

"What has this group done to have a federal holiday in their honor?" Thomas asked. "These guys are often members of your community who have come home and remain willing to donate their time, energy and wisdom. They're often people who continue to serve something greater than themselves when they certainly have earned the right to stay home and live in privacy, peace, and comfort. I've come to believe that we honor veterans and must always continue to honor them because veterans do one thing that no other citizens do. They put themselves in harm's way to protect all of us. Veterans have done this during the entire 241 years of our country's existence. Now that I'm home again and I have some years between my wartime experiences and my slide into old age I know the greatest accomplishment of my life has been earning the privilege to sit among these men and wear one of the same hats that they wear. In a small way, serving in my foreign wars allowed me to help carry on their legacy, a legacy of selfless service, of paying my debt to all the wonderful people in this community who kept it such a safe and decent place for me to grow up. Safe and decent places like Wahkiakum County and the United States, as a whole, just don't continue to exist without good people making difficult sacrifices."

 

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