By Portia Williams
There was no speaker, as in the case of most Veterans Day Programs, just the beautiful voices of fourth grade students from Portsmouth Elementary (PE), and The Portsmouth High School Show Choir filling the PHS gymnasium with songs acknowledging veterans for their service and dedication to the United States of America.
PHS Principal, Amy Hughes, opened the Veterans Day Program, introducing Emily Smith, and Twilight Pack, who directed the PHS Show Choir, and fourth graders from PE. Smith said it is vital for today’s students to appreciate the service of our veterans. Smith led the Portsmouth High School Show Choir in the singing of ‘Bring Him Home,’ a song befitting for the Veterans Day event.
“I think it is really important to have our students today understand what it means to be a veteran, and how important it is to honor our veterans on Veterans Day,” Smith said. “We sang ‘Bring Him Home,’ and it is from a musical called, Les Mis, and it is sung by a character that is talking about how one of the men who is going off to war, and the young man that he is talking about loves his daughter, and he wants him to come back home safely. So, Bring HIm Home is actually like a prayer asking for his future son in law to be brought home safely from war.”
The event also included the reading of a list of veterans from the PHS Staff including the following:
Joe Albrecht- National Guard
Drew Applegate -Sgt US Army 82nd Airborne Division
Mark Arms- Air National Guard
Jon Born- Air Force Meteorologists
Ron Davis- Private 1st Class US Army
Randy Nelson- Staff Sgt Air Force
Aaron Polston- Colonel US Army Reserve, Iraq and Afghanistan Veteran
Buck Whitley- Sgt US Army 82nd Airborne Division
Tony Lavinder- US Air Force
The traditional tune, ‘Taps,’ was performed by PHS student, Semajah Parker and echoed by Mr. Swintek. The PHS Show Choir was accompanied by Judy Smith. Additionally, a variety of PE Students read expressions of appreciation of veterans in the midst of the songs performed. All veterans present at the program were asked to stand and be acknowledged, and were met with a round of hardy hand-clapping by the audience.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.