More than 40 local veterans were the guests of honor Monday morning as they gathered with students, faculty and members of the community in the Camden Central High School gymnasium for the school’s annual Veterans Day Assembly.
Serving as this year’s guest speaker was Lieutenant Commander Mark Sluder with the United States Navy.
High School student Amelia Myrick, who introduced Sluder, detailed how Sluder, who graduated high school with CHS Principal Shawn McDowell, after completing Navy Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida, was commissioned as an Ensign in the Navy.
As Myrick pointed out, Sluder qualified as a Surface Warfare Supply Corps Officer, as well as a Navy Expeditionary Supply Corps Officer. He was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal, the Korea Defense Service Medal, as well as other individual and unit awards.
“It was one of the great honors and opportunities in my life to serve this country,” Sluder began. He then explained the various military holidays celebrated by the U.S. “We have Armed Forces Day when we honor active duty military, we have Veterans Day for those who served and are still living and we have Memorial Day for those who served and have passed on. We honor every military member who gave the best years of their lives to the service of the United States and stood ready to give life itself on our behalf.”
Sluder finished by explaining the many advances in military technology through the years and encouraged students to enlist with the United States military as a “first option.” He said, “There is one thing they have not and cannot replace, that’s the service men and women.”
Other highlights of the Veterans Day program included:
- CHS student Michael Fulp, who gave the welcome address.
- CHS student Kenzie Goodwin led the Moment of Silence and The Pledge of Allegiance.
- Presenting the Colors was Boy Scouts Troop 72, that included, Dylan Thornton, Chase Hisey, Kris Craven, Kevin Knight, Max Wright, Colt Beasley, Caleb Glover, Jaden Bradford and Ashton Nelson.
- CHS student Bryanna Beckham, who sang the “Star Spangled Banner.”
- CHS student Kathryn Redlund, who detailed the history behind Veterans Day.
- CHS student Katie Hollingswotth who recited a poem and introduced the CHS Band.
- CHS student, Sieran Weatherly who explained the origin of “Taps.”
- CHS Band member, Isabella Wright who performed “Taps.”
- CHS student Kenny Boyd gave te closing prayer.
- Band Director James Young, who led the CHS Band in the presentation of military branch flags performing each division’s theme song.
After the program, attending Veterans and members of their families were treated to lunch courtesy of the Camden Central High School cafeteria staff.