Local veterans were honored Friday, Nov. 11 by Dolores students who sang patriotic songs and read poignant passages during a moving ceremony on campus.
“We thank you for the sacrifice, we thank you for our rights, our freedom, our equality, our liberty,” said student Sierra Schwartz. “You gave up something for us so we can happily go about our day in peace.”
Dozens of veterans, many dressed in full uniform, were visibly moved by the gesture of appreciation for their military service during the annual Dolores Veterans Day program.
Those who gave the ultimate sacrifice were honored with five decorated and empty chairs, representing soldiers lost in the five branches of the military.
During an open-mic session, veterans took the podium to speak of fellow soldiers who passed on, lest they be forgotten. Others shared what this day meant to them.
“It means a lot to me because my family has served in the military since 1820,” said veteran Joe Newell. “It means honoring my family and the sacrifice they made, and sacrifices of everyone sitting here. I like to see all these young people honoring and respecting us. It’s a great feeling.”
Dan Jones served in the Air Force (1974-1978) and was a crew chief for the F-111 fighter jet.
“It was a pleasure for me to serve my country, and I honor each and every one of you,” he told his fellow veterans.
Jim Logan served in the Army and Desert Storm. He thanked the young students for the Veterans Day program and recited a quote for Gen. Douglas MacArthur:
“The soldier above all other people prays for peace, because he or she must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.”
Baylor Noyes stepped up to the podium to honor and thank his older brother, Levi Noyes, a Marine deployed on a battleship. And Addie Jones, a member of the student choir, remembered her grandfather, who recently passed away and served in the Navy during WWII.
Army veteran Duane Tibbets attended the annual Dolores ceremony for the first time, and was impressed.
“It was beautiful. The kids did a fantastic job,” he said afterward. “It was way more than I expected.”
A collection of student poems, artwork and essays were handed out to each veteran at the event.
“I’d going to see if these can be mailed out to the troops currently serving so they can see how much young people appreciate their military service,” Tibbets said.