Photo by Lorie Palmer
More than 40 veterans attended the Grangeville High School Veterans Day assembly Friday, Nov. 10. Following the ceremony, students made a tunnel where they greeted veterans as they walked through.
As of Tuesday, November 14, 2017
GRANGEVILLE “I know you could have found someone with a more compelling or exciting story – but you’re stuck with me,” smiled retired Coast Guard Commander John Kennedy.
Kennedy spoke to a full house at the Grangeville High School Veterans Day assembly Friday, Nov. 10.
“Driving downtown Grangeville this morning, I was reminded how special this community is and appreciate its efforts to celebrate its veterans,” he said.
Kennedy grew up in Nezperce, Kamiah and Lewiston, and graduated from high school in 1990 and the Coast Guard Academy in 1994. He entered full-time military service, retiring in 2014. At that time, he and his wife, Bobbi, and three children moved to Grangeville. Bobbi is the school’s college and career readiness advisor.
“You know her by Mrs. Kennedy, but to me, she’s the admiral,” Kennedy drew a laugh from the crowd.
He went on to say that people thank him for his service and he appreciates that, but “it has been my great honor to serve,” he said.
Kennedy described several life lessons he feels are applicable to GHS students including life is not fair, they are not owned anything and they need to learn to move on and persevere, even in times of adversity.
Senior Wyatt Perry organized the assembly where more than 40 veterans showed up to be honored by students with songs, flowers, cookies from the Eagles, quilts from Camas Prairie Quilts of Valor women and by the reading of “What Veterans Day Means to Me” pieces by seniors Ammon Dewey, Nikki Parks, Hailey Russell, Tessa Godfrey, Amrit Singh and Trent Hunter, and juniors Rachel Chmelik and Holly Forsmann. In addition, Godfrey and Morgan Crea spoke briefly about their senior “RED” project, reminding community members and students to ear red on Fridays and Remember Everyone Deployed.
“I wanted to do something to give back to the community, and this is my way of saying thank you to our veterans,” said Perry, whose grandfather, uncle and brother are all veterans. The assembly was part of his senior project.
GHS teacher Pat Sullivan said throughout history, generations have been misunderstood by the next generation regarding their clothes, language, music.
“But the areas where we have common ground are in our country, our flag, our government, our veterans,” he said.
“I believe in the students at GHS,” Sullivan said. “I trust they will lead their lives in a way which honors our veterans, with ethics and morals and doing the right thing. Go out there and make a difference. What will you do with your freedoms?”
The assembly ended with the veterans walking through the traditional student tunnel of appreciation where they shook hands with, spoke to and hugged students along the way.