Many Bell County residents gathered at Bell County High School for the annual “Celebrate America” event on Friday. Veterans from all branches of the military were honored and given a front row seat for the program.
The event started off by the Bell County JROTC escorting the veterans through a tunnel of follow ROTC members. The veterans were sorted by branch to which they served.
The BCHS choir, directed by Jackie Thompson, opened with “Sweet Land of Liberty.” During the performance the American flag was dropped from the rafters, and there was a special visit from lady liberty herself (the Statue of Liberty).
The BCHS exhibition drill team gave a performance and then showed their respects by kneeling before the veterans.
Each one of Bell County’s elementary schools gathered on the gym floor and waved their flags to the song “Love Will Guide Us.” Jeremiah Partin, Kelly Brown, Shawn Ausmus and Shaylyn Elliot performed a dance number to “Rockin Robin.” which was sang by the BCHS performing choir.
The guest speaker for the event was 1st Sgt. Daniel Tuttle, who is a BCHS graduate. Tuttle discussed the sacrifices the veterans gave for the freedom of America.
“People want to come here and live because we are so blessed,” said Tuttle. “Be very thankful…for the freedoms that you have.”
Tuttle said the goal of the military is not just to go and fight overseas, but also to help countries rebuild. He stated the military has helped build roads, dig wells for villages and taught people how to increase their food production.
A short power-point presentation shown as technology teacher Tim Huddleston sang “In God We Still Trust.”
To end the program, there was a procession of crosses presented by several BCHS students. Those students were: Paige Robbins, Austin Dixon, Lauren Hensley, Ben Barnett, Grace Barnett, Jeremiah Partin, Shawn Ausmus, Shaylyn Elliott, Amanda Partin, Nate Tanner, Katie Endicott, Kevin Osborne, Victoria Williams and Ben Collett.
Students carried crosses in honor of those who died to wars fought by America. The choirs final song was “We Hold These Truths.”
Anthony Cloud is a staff writer for the Middlesboro Daily News. He can be contacted via email at email@example.com or by phone at 606-248-1010, ext.208.