West Union High School held their annual Veterans Day celebration on Tuesday, Nov. 10, coordinated by staff member Mrs. Megan McCarty. The school started the celebration weeks ahead with planning and decorating for the event. Students in Ms. Jamie Puckett’s junior and senior classes submitted essays for the Voice of Democracy contest and senior Daisee Young, won first place. Her essay will be sent to the national Veterans of Foreign Wars office where she will compete against approximately 40,000 other students for the national prize.
The West Union FFA, led by Mr. Donnie McCarty, the freshman language arts classes, led by Ms. Heather Ward, the journalism class, led by Ms. Puckett, and the art department, led by Mr. Mike Felts, made posters and flyers to decorate the high school for our visiting veterans. On the junior high side of the building, students from Mrs. Stacy McCann’s Math classes decorated the hallways along with students in Ms. Karen Cunningham’s Art classes, Mrs. Emily Grooms’s Intervention classes, Mrs. Tracy Fulmer’s Science classes, and Ms. Adrianne Emerson’s Intervention classes. Finally, the National Honor Society, directed by Ms. Stephanie Nuber, collected letters for Operation Gratitude. The letters will be sent to veterans and active duty members.
The Nov.10 ceremony began with a prelude by the Liberty Band, an opening piece by Mrs. McCarty, and the presentation of the colors by the WUHS Flag Corp. WUHS is proud to recognize our own liberty band players, Ms. Marissa Estes (Spanish teacher) and senior Hannah Hill.
Sarah White, senior, read the Pledge of Allegiance for the school and the WUHS concert choir performed the “Star Spangled Banner.” The concert choir also performed “This is My Song” and “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” later in the program. The WUHS concert band performed “The Gallant Marines” while the Liberty Band performed the “Armed Forces Medley” and “Stars and Stripes Forever.”
During the “Armed Forces Medley,” students, veterans, and staff were invited to stand and represent the veterans and active duty members that they know from each branch. The concert choir was directed by Mr. Neil DeAtley, the concert band by Mr. Carl Schneider, and the Liberty Band by Maggie Hoff.
The following students are members of the WUHS Band: Taya Brown, Caitlyn Cooper, Adam Fulton, John Grooms, Alicia Harmon, Shelby Hobbs, Marcus Jacobs, Lucy Kersey, Rayanna McFarland, Jordan Ozeta, Cassidy Price, Cierra Roberts, Jessica Silhavy, Julia Tackett, Mac Wilson, and Daisee Young.
The following students are members of the WUHS Choir: Kaylee Ankrom, Alexis Barr, Julia Brannock, Conner Campbell, Athena Chamblin, Treavor Collins, Emilee Davis, Lyndsay Day, Sarah Fields, Lanie Gibson, Kira Gifford, Seiara Haddox, Morgan Henry, Hanna Hilterbrand, Alexandria Hopkins, Alexa Jolley, Hunter Jones, Janson Kramer, Clayton Madden, Andrew McGraw, Hunter McMillin, Kathryn McNeilan, Tanner Neal, Michael Osborn, Kristianna Patrick, Joseph Poynter, Shelby Rister, Joshua Sibert, Christopher Silhavy, Amanda Stephenson, Joshua Tumbleson, Kristin Unger, Dakota Vance, Emily Vance, Madison Welch, Christa Williams, and Taylor Williams.
The following students are members in both the WUHS Band and WUHS Choir: Jackson Crask, Lindsey Daniel, Erin Downey, Tyler Fowler, Matthew Grooms, Taylor Grooms, Wesley Hayslip, Hannah Hill, Dezarae Hornberger, Hannah Howard, Brooklyn Howelett, Skyler Johnson, Daniel Lewis, Coal McClanahan, Carson McFarland, Sianna Mills, Nathan Music, Shruti Nayak, Dakota Nehus, Josie Parker, Leanna Poynter, Andrew Sapp, Zachariah Sentney, MacKenzie Smith, Madeline Spires, Tyler Swearingen, Brandi Taylor, Ethan Thompson, Cody Thornberry, Sarah White, and Nathan Young.
Other songs were performed in the Veterans Day ceremony by smaller groups of students. Seniors Julia Tackett and Sarah White, along with junior MacKenzie Smith performed “God Bless the USA,” while Dakota Nehus and Skyler Johnson (sophomores) accompanied them on the guitar. Juniors Coal McClanahan and Tyler Swearingen performed “Taps.” Patriotic readings were completed by seventh grader Anna Olderham, sophomores Shruti Nayak, Sianna Mills and Dakota Nehus, and junior Coal McClanahan. The flag folding ceremony was narrated by sophomore,Nathan Young and completed by the WUHS Flag Corp. Principal Ben King, accepted the flag in honor of our veterans and active duty members.
The highlight of the ceremony was the honored guest speaker, Adams County Commissioner Paul Worley. Mr. Worley is a former United States Army Infantry Captain and served three tours of duty in support of the Global War on Terrorism, two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. As a platoon leader with the 101st Airborne Division, he was awarded the bronze star with valor for combat actions in the Sunni Triangle in southwest Baghdad. He served as an operations officer for NATO in Kandahar, Afghanistan from 2008-2009.
Mr. Worley’s medals and decorations include a bronze star medal with valor, two bronze star medals, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Ranger Tab, Combat Infantry Badge, Expert Infantry Badge, Parachutist Badge, and Air Assault Badge. West Union High School is proud that Mr. Worley, the Adams County native, made time to speak with our students and staff for our ceremony.
Mrs. Miranda Rhonemus offered the closing remarks and the WUHS Flag Corp retired the colors. The members of the WUHS Flag Corp include: junior, Rebekah McCarty; sophomores Elijah McCarty and Skyler Johnson; freshmen Carson McFarland and Nate Music; and seventh grader Savannah Allen. The WUHS Flag Corp was trained by veteran William Conn, and supervised by Mrs. Helen White.
Three different war reenactments were also part of the celebration. The first reenactment featured soldiers and women on the home front during the Revolutionary War. This reenactment featured actors from the Grassy Run Historical Arts Committee and the second taught students about Civil War culture with sophomore Dodge Evans. Lastly, Joshua Krieger of Krieger Mountain Crafts provided the information for the Native American history in war time.
The visiting veterans were provided a luncheon catered by Hesler’s Catering. WUHS would also like to thank Janice McCarty, Karen Bihl, Carissa King, the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 100, and Margaret Blevins for their donations to the veteran luncheon.
The West Union High School students and staff appreciate all of the veterans in attendance for the Veterans Day ceremony. The veterans in attendance that served in the United States Army were: Jim McClanahan, Leonard Young, Keith Swearingen, Kenneth White, Donald Grooms, Robert Lewis, Levi Shelton, Sam Shiveley, Tony A. Blevins, Jack Bradford, Paul Worley, and Leo Trotter. Leo Trotter also served in the United States Navy.
The veterans in attendance that served in the United States Navy were: Keith Grooms, Tom Locatelli, Terry DeMint, and Greg Roberts.
The veterans in attendance that served in the United States Marine Corps were: Gary Call, Frank A. Nance, Stephen Stamper, and Edward L. Harmon.
The veterans in attendance that served in the United States Air Force were: John Nehus, and Mike Chaney.
The school was honored to host J.J. Whitley from the United States Seabees Construction Battalions. Our other honored guests included the women from the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 100: Bonnelene Hawkins, Viginia B. Grooms, Louise Davis, Shirley Stapleton, and Margaret Blevins.
Some veterans and other affiliated speakers chose to stay to speak with students after the ceremonies. Those speakers include: Ron Goodwin, United States Army and United States Air Force; Grover Swearingen, United States Air Force; Chester Applegate, United States Army; Larry Applegate, United States Army; Tommy Brown, United States Army; Harry Shoop, United States Army; Williams
R. Conn, United States Army; Timothy Daniel, United States Army; Tim Phelps, United States Navy; Robert Ball, United States Army; Gerald Shiveley, United States Navy; Ray Buda, United States Air Force; John Brockhoeft, United States Navy; and Joann White, member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).