GREENSBURG — On Monday at 10 a.m., students at North Decatur High School will open their school to the community for the 2013 NDHS Veterans Day Program, honoring military veterans from all over Decatur County.
According to Program Coordinator and NDHS Social Studies Teacher Ernie Ruble, Marine Corps Veteran Christopher Browning will be the keynote speaker. Ruble described Browning, who is currently an assistant program manager at the IU School of Medicine, as a veteran of two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.
“His presentation will offer reflections of his tours,” Ruble said. “And I know he’ll reflect on the importance of military service to our country.”
Browning won’t be the only one offering reflections during the program, Ruble said. Various students will also speak, with some reading poems gleaned online and others offering more personal, self-written tributes.
“One student is writing a self-reflection about her favorite veteran,” Ruble explained.
Another student will speak about “the bravest main I know,” who happens to be a veteran who’s important in her life.
Ruble, himself a military veteran, stressed that the program will be free and open to the public. “We’ll have a large section set aside for the community,” he said.
The veteran teacher added that his 10 years of service in the Indiana National Guard heightened his own appreciation of military service.
While the program itself starts at 10 a.m., and will run until 11, there will also be a breakfast for veterans and their families, and students starting at 8:30 a.m. Unfortunately, the breakfast isn’t open to the public.
The breakfast, Ruble said, is important because it allows veterans to mingle with students, reminding the former servicemen they’re appreciated, while at the same time enabling them to offer direct, instructive insight about their experiences to students.
The breakfast, Ruble further noted, creates a productive synergy between community involvement and education. “Plus,” he added, “some of these veterans will be from World War Two. We’re losing World War Two veterans at a shocking rate, and I know they look forward for this chance to eat and interact with students.”
Ruble added that, alongside the World War Two veterans at Monday’s program, veterans up through every other major American conflict since the World War Two are expected to appear.
In addition to the presentations noted above, the Veterans Day Program will also include a POW/MIA ceremony staged by students and a color-guard procession. The NDHS band will also appear with the NDHS choir, performing a selection of military-themed and patriotic music, including “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “The Hymn of the Fallen” and “America the Beautiful.”
“I think it’s very important to honor these men and women who have endangered and exposed themselves to protect our rights and freedoms,” Ruble said. “Some have served in combat, while others served behind the lines in a support capacity. Since 1975 or so, America’s military has been an all-volunteer force, meaning enlistment for these veterans is all about serving their country. It’s an incredibly important educational program for our students, too. Events like this puts living history right in front of them.”
For more information on the NDHS 2013 Veteran’s Day Program, call NDHS at 663-4204.
Contact: Rob Cox 812-663-3111 x7011