The Ottumwa Courier

November 13, 2012

Cardinal students honor veterans, remember those lost in battle

CHELSEA DAVIS
Courier Staff Writer

ELDON — A soft-spoken veteran told Cardinal students the importance of serving in the military during a Veterans Day ceremony Monday afternoon.

Roger Davis, a 1988 Cardinal High School graduate and a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, spoke to the more than 600 students following patriotic songs, presentation of the colors by Boy Scout Troop #22 and the Pledge of Allegiance.

In World War II, 11.2 percent of the nation served in the military in just four years. During the Vietnam War, 4 percent served, and today, only 0.5 percent of the population serves in the military, Davis noted.

“Over time, fewer and fewer are shouldering more and more of the burden,” he said.

Davis served for four years in the Air Force, stationed at Hill Air Force Base in Utah and then serving in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm during the Gulf War.

He said when the United States was sent into the War on Terror, the U.S. Congress was comprised of only 10 percent veterans, taxes did not increase and gas was not regulated.

“The average citizen has been asked to sacrifice nothing,” Davis said. “The only ones who have sacrificed are our veterans and their families.”

Davis said Americans owe veterans a tremendous amount of gratitude for protecting the nation from the daily violence and constant fear that other regions of the world continue to face.

“There is no greater sacrifice,” he said.

Cardinal Superintendent Joel Pedersen said the school district always spends a lot of time every year talking with students about the importance of veterans and remembering them on Veterans Day.

“I think especially after an election, while we may disagree on the outcomes ... veterans have given us the opportunity to vote, to have a free country,” he said. “Other countries don’t have that opportunity.”

Pedersen said 50-75 veterans were able to come to the school for the ceremony. As each of the songs of the five Armed Forces were played, veterans stepped forward to applause and standing ovations.

Pedersen read this poem to students to begin the ceremony:

“With bravery and strength they serve.

With dignity and pride they stand.

With courage and hope they fight.

The life they live is dangerous, treacherous, rough and hard-going.

But when the fog clears,

They are the ones who still stand.”

Boy Scout Troop #2 also presented the colors, while the audience said the Pledge of Allegiance.

Every year, the English department holds a drawing, essay and poetry contest for all students. This year the students were asked to write about remembering veterans and patriotism.