Newnan Crossing Elementary salutes military veterans: 'We are – because of veterans – a free country'

alt

Mike Mitchell speaks to students at Newnan Crossing Elementary School about the meaning of Veterans Day.

By W. WINSTON SKINNER
winston@newnan.com
"From the Atlantic to the blue Pacific, we are – because of veterans – a free country," Mike Mitchell told students at Newnan Crossing Elementary on Thursday.
The morning program included music from the school's chorus and the presentation of the colors by the East Coweta High School JROTC. Mitchell, a coach at the school and a veteran of the Navy and Marines, talked about the unity that binds military people – and Americans.
"We come from different countries. We are different colors," Mitchell said. "Together we are united... all standing together."
He emphasized, "It doesn't matter what country you come from, we are all one country – united."
Mitchell said veterans have made "horrific sacrifices of blood, limb and mind to keep us safe" throughout the nation's history. He said the hardest times for soldiers are heading into combat on the first day and leaving the field of battle "on the last day."
A person serving in the military "will fight and die to protect his comrades," Mitchell said.
He also told the students that following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, all Americans are citizen veterans. "We are all comrades in arms. We are all potential targets," Mitchell said.

Students had created flags for countries around the world. At one point, they raised those flags – followed by a vigorous waving of small American flags.

"People from every nation want to come here. They come here with papers, and they come here without papers. They all want to be free," Mitchell said.

He said all Americans have something to offer in service to the nation. "Being proud to be an American citizen – to be free – is the most important thing," the coach said.

(To view photos from this event, please visit http://photos.times-herald.com/mycapture and click on Events for the Photo Gallery.)

Terri Lassetter, principal at the school, spoke of "the dedication and commitment to our country" showed by veterans. Mitchell said the freedom Americans enjoy is "the greatest gift on earth."

"We need to remember that freedom isn't free," said Gwen Melson, assistant principal. She said offering thanks daily to veterans is important and suggested each student can do so by "being a patriotic citizen and loving our country."

Mitchell said America will endure and thrive as long as there are generations of young people who will "go into the darkest and most dangerous places on earth to see face-to-face those who would do us harm."

Mitchell recognized veterans present for the ceremonies as well as Newnan Crossing faculty members who have family currently serving in the military.

Students Aaron Larkin and Cassidy Klekot shared from essays they wrote on Veterans Day themes. Larkin's father served as a military policeman, and both of Klekot's grandfathers served in the military.

"Although my grandfathers are not here today, they live through me," Klekot said. "Their legacy lives through me."

Larkin spoke of the freedoms secured by veterans including "the freedom to go to school and visit family and friends" and of "the opportunity to live in the United States of America."

Veterans Day is "a time to celebrate the past, present and future," Klekot said. She said veterans have worked toward "providing a better life for those who came after them."

Veterans "give us presents we may not be able to see," Klekot said.

Larkin also urged his fellow students to remember "the family member who keeps the family going" when the service member is on active duty.

Lassetter said the purpose of the program was "to honor men and women who have served and are serving in our military." A reception for veterans was held after the program.



More Local

Perdue beats Kingston; recount likely in school superintendent race

Businessman David Perdue beat long-time Congressman Jack Kingston in Tuesday's runoff for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. The t ... Read More


Church Day shows off rich Coweta history

The churches of Coweta County got their day to share their rich history on the Court Square in downtown Newnan on Saturday. More than 20 chu ... Read More


Senoia’s zombie wall may remain for years

A portion of a Senoia residential development might be a “closed set” for the next several years. On Monday, representatives fro ... Read More


Meat processing center destroyed by flames

A commercial building between the Arnco and Sargent communities in western Coweta County was destroyed by a fire early Monday. Around 4 a.m. ... Read More


Sheriff's employee Ayers in coma

A longtime employee of the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office who was diagnosed with a serious disease last year took a turn for the worse ... Read More

‘Window into Past’ tours at Brown’s Mill Saturday

Tickets are available to tour the Battle of Brown’s Mill battlefield Saturday for displays making up “A Window into the Past.&rd ... Read More