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School salutes its own veterans

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By John Barnhart

For the second year, Thomas Jefferson Elementary School's students invited area veterans to a Veterans Day program at the school. The event, which drew a large turnout, featured music by a student choir and treats provided by the school's PTA.

According to Mac Duis, the principal, Kevin Smith, one of the school's two music teachers, spearheaded the project.

“We started the program last year,” said Smith.

Smith said that he got the idea because a large number of the children have parents or grandparents who are veterans. He felt it would good to honor them, as well as those currently serving. As the event was well received last year, the school decided to do it a again, with some changes.

A student choir sang and fifth grade students read brief compositions honoring veterans. Some mentioned a family member who has served.

Robert M. Cardwell, commander of Lynchburg's American Legion Post, was the guest speaker. A Campbell County native, he joined the Army and stayed for 22 years.

“America is the greatest country in the world,” he said.

He reminded those attending that they live in a democratic society with freedoms, such as the freedom to speak openly and the freedom to worship. He then read the number of lives that this nation's various wars have claimed and noted that these people died for those freedoms.

“Freedom is not free,” he said, noting that the losses in the wars demonstrate that.