2008-11-20 / Local & State

SF Elementary Honors Veterans

Assembly held Friday morning
STAFF REPORT

The 167th Air Lift Wing Color Guard presents the colors at Warfordsburg Elementary School's program to honor veterans. The 167th Air Lift Wing Color Guard presents the colors at Warfordsburg Elementary School's program to honor veterans. Students at Warfordsburg Elementary School honored the country's veterans at a special program held in the elementary school's auditorium Friday morning.

Put together each year by a local veteran, the Veterans Day assembly has become a tradition at Warfordsburg Elementary in recent years.

Marlin Lynch, a Warfordsburg resident and U.S. Air Force veteran, organized this year's program, which began with a presentation of the colors by the 167th Air Lift Wing Color Guard out of Martinsburg, W. Va. The guard returned later in the program and demonstrated the proper way to fold the American flag while Lynch read the uniformed services description of the flag-folding ceremony.

Another Warfordsburg area resident and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers veteran, Billy Ward, was the program's guest speaker. He told the students that during his time in the Engineer Corps he "went to a lot of schools and learned a lot of stuff." That stuff took him to every state in the union and 25 different countries. He was an instructor at the United States Military Academy at West Point, met Gen. Douglas MacArthur and sat two seats away from President John F. Kennedy at the 1962 Army-Navy game in Philadelphia.

"It is the responsibility of every American to help and defend this country," Ward said.

Lynch gave a brief explanation of Veterans Day and its history to the youngsters, underscoring that "it takes a strong military to keep a nation strong."

Also taking part was county Commissioner Dan Swain, who said that it was important "to honor veterans that have sacrificed so much."

Lynch said he had been asked to do a Veterans Day program by elementary Principal Kendra Trail. He said Trail had decided a few years ago to begin observing Veterans Day at the elementary school level.

Lynch found the students "really attentive" to the program and said, "I know the adults really appreciated it."

Friday's assembly ended with a DVD of a memorial service held in Iraq following the death of Lance Cpl. Steven W. Szwydek, a 2003 graduate of Southern Fulton High School. Szwydek and two other marines were killed when a IED exploded while he was driving a Humvee on combat operations near Nasser Wa Salaam, Iraq.

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