The weather may have postponed it, but there was no stopping the Van Meter High School Veterans Day assembly. Originally scheduled for Monday, Nov. 11, the 13th-annual Veterans Day assembly kicked off on Tuesday, Nov. 12.
The assembly once again paid homage to military members both past and present who have served honorably to keep our freedoms here in the United States. Things began with a short tribute music video specified for Veterans Day as the crowd, ranging from elementary school on through high school, filed in for the event. The event officially kicked off with words by Tristian Drake, who directed the event. It moved onto a display by the second grade students, and then moved into the featured part of the event, which was the speech of keynote speaker, Lt. Col. Lawrence N. Yazzie.
Each year Van Meter Schools bring in an impactful speaker to really hammer home the importance of Veterans Day and the real meanings behind the day. Yazzie more than fit that bill. Serving his duty for the Air Force, Yazzie began his military journey in the United State Air Force Academy through the year 2001. He has since been stationed in various states including the Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, the Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi, the Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, the Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado and more. He also served twice overseas in Kyrgyestan and Kuwait.
Yazzie also spoke about his Native American background and how that played a part in his military life. He spoke very highly of the opportunity to speak in front of the Van Meter students and mentioned how honored he was to honor others in service, something that hasn’t always been the case.
“One of the things about the Van Meter school district that I love is that ability to recognize patriotism and wanting to show that through various means,” began Yazzie. “In talking with my father and my grandparents, there was a time that simply recognizing service men and women wasn’t a part of our culture. I’m very honored to be a part of a community like Van Meter that honors those who have served.”
Yazzie did a great job expressing the importance of Veterans day both through his history and the history of the day itself. Dating all the way back to 1919 when then President Woodrow Wilson recognized the day as Armistice Day, recognizing those who brought about the end of the “Great War.” The day continued with that name all the way through 1954 where it became known as Veterans Day, a day to honor all those who served both past and present. That was another big piece to the conversation for Yazzie.
“It’s a big day because we’re not honoring just a few people, we’re honoring all American service men and women who have not only died in combat but continue to serve today,” said Yazzie. “To have it here is not only a big honor but also goes to show the character of Van Meter and the residents.”
For Van Meter to put such emphasis into honoring veterans and Veterans Day itself truly does speak to the purity of the community and the quality with which it strives for in every facet as Yazzie also went on to explain.
“When you go through the top notch academics, you also have top notch facilities and more,” began Yazzie. “They are good people, they call it Bulldog Belief but it’s also the belief to be a better person, to serve and I’m proud to have been a part of that here today.”
There’s no doubt it was yet another successful Veterans Day assembly despite what the weather brought. It just went to show the importance and the meaning behind the day and the power it can bring.