Veterans get their due at Lin-Wood School
LINCOLN — The line stretched outside the gymnasium doors, took a left turn and extended the length of the corridor and beyond.
U.S. military veterans from the Lincoln-Woodstock area arrived Friday morning, and they represented every war, conflict and military action their country had been involved in over the past 70 years.
They showed up at the Lin-Wood School, which serves both communities, and where administrators have a history of doing Veterans Day right.
The assembly includes all grades, kindergarten through eight, and is special every year. No one cares how long it takes until each and every vet and his or her escort has been announced and applauded. Many servicemen and women moved slowly, some needed a steadying hand, and others rode wheelchairs. All were honored for their sacrifice.
"We want to thank our veterans for all they have done for us," Principal Robert Nelson told the packed gym.
Moments earlier, local U.S. Coast Guard veteran Joel Bourassa listed the many reasons that high school graduates might have for choosing military service: To continue their education; for the "money, free room and board" and medical coverage; or to enjoy retiring after 20 years while they'd still be under the age of 40, he said."Some want to travel, and I'm not talking about war zones. Others want "direction" in their lives, and some definitely need that, the Lin-Wood grad continued.
"I graduated at 17, and I was quite immature for my age. I think Mr. Nelson can attest to that," he said.
After listing 10 possible reasons for enlistment, Bourassa concluded his talk with a final one.
"Pride and honor, this is the biggie," he said.
Bourassa then played a 1969 video of the late comedian Red Skelton in which Skelton gave his expanded version of the Pledge of Allegiance. In it, he gave a detailed explanation of most of the lines contained in the pledge.
As she had done at the program's start, special education teacher Paula King read the names of the veterans and their escorts as they filed from the school, once again to sustained applause.