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An Assembly to Remember

American flags stand next to the markers amid the headstones of veterans and their family members to mark Veterans Day in Riverside Cemetery on Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

David Zalubowski

American flags stand next to the markers amid the headstones of veterans and their family members to mark Veterans Day in Riverside Cemetery on Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

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Freedom is not free, and many of our family members, neighbors, and coworkers, have paid that price to give us something that is unmatched by any material possession.

Yesterday, Apple Valley came together to celebrate all those who have served and who are currently serving the country with our annual Veteran’s Day assembly. As always, it was an event to remember.

Principal Michael Bolsoni hosted the event for his first time this year, following in the footsteps of the assembly’s founder, former Apple Valley principal Steve Degenaar.

Apple Valley’s Valley Select Chorale performing “Long Walk to Remember.” – Photo courtesy of Pete Buesgens.

The Apple Valley Legion Post 1776 opened with the Posting of the Colors, followed by the Valley Select Chorale’s beautiful rendition of the National Anthem.

Colton Pearson, a senior who will be joining the Marines this June, led the gymnasium in the Pledge of Allegiance.

The morning took an emotional turn when junior Tre Jones took to the podium to share the inspirational story of his grandfather, Dennis Deutsch, a paratrooper in the Army. Jones shared how his Grandfather impacted his own character and how his commitment to the country and to his family was unlike any other person he knew.

“Although he is not here in person today,” began Jones, “I am confronted by the idea that, that veteran, that paratrooper, my grandpa, is still looking down at our great country today.” The room was absolutely still as Jones spoke; it was clear that each word struck a chord with many people in the room.

“Long Walk to Freedom,” performed by the Valley Select Chorale, included a solo from senior Arianna Rotty and a piece from Nelson Mandela recited by junior Scott Ockwig.  “I have walked that long road to freedom,” Ockwig recited. “I have tried not to falter.”  The song was a powerful reflection of what it means to be free.

Tre Jones delivering his emotional speech about his grandfather – Photo courtesy of Pete Buesgens.

Sergeant Darik P. Brown was the keynote speaker this year and spoke wonderfully about what it means to be a veteran and what the day is really about. He emphasized the idea the Veteran’s Day is all about celebrating the great honor it is to have our freedoms protected by so many brave Americans.

“Whenever America, or her interests have been threatened, men and women from across this great nation have risen to her defense,” began Brown. “Whenever our freedoms have come under assault, we have responded with strength and purpose and resolve.”

Sergeant Brown went on to discuss why Veteran’s Day is important to him, and shared a  touching story from Colonel John Mayer about the passing of a baseball glove from one veteran to another.

A favorite for many students, staff, and veterans is the “Armed Forces Salute,” in which all five branches of the military are honored with the Wind Ensemble’s performance of their respective songs. Watching the men and woman stand as their songs played beaming with pride, was something that no one could ever recreate.

Mr. Bolsoni made an observation about the tone of the morning, saying, “This is a special day at Apple Valley High School. You will notice the tone and mood of the assembly are different from other school events.” Bolsoni went on to thank students for their impeccable respect demonstrated.

Happy Veteran’s Day to all who have been a part in preserving the freedom we often take for granted. You deserve to be honored each and every day.

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The student news site of Apple Valley High School
An Assembly to Remember