Chillicothe Middle School and Chillicothe High School conducted Veterans Day programs on Friday.

Chillicothe Middle School and Chillicothe High School conducted Veterans Day programs on Friday. The high school program took place in the morning and the middle school program in the afternoon. (Click here to view photos from both events) CHS Principal Brian Sherrow welcomed those in attendance and thanked Randy Plattner and the Chillicothe FFA for organizing the day’s program, and Dr. Jill Watkins and the school’s English department for conducting an essay contest. “But, most importantly, I’d like to thank all of the honored veterans for joining us today,” Sherrow said. “Because of the countless sacrifices you and your fellow men and women of the U.S. military, we are able to gather peacefully and enjoy the many benefits of living in a free society. “Veterans are the most special among us because when our country called on you in times of need, you placed freedom and democracy ahead of self-interests to ensure that the greatest nation in the world shall not perish from this earth,” Sherrow said. “... Because of you and your military brothers and sisters who gave the ultimate sacrifice, we are able to enjoy the countless blessings of being Americans.” After the welcoming comments, Sherrow introduced Jim Wheeler, chairman of the school’s social studies department, who served as the master of ceremonies for the program. Wheeler told about the history of Armistice Day and noted that Nov. 11, 2017, marked the 99th anniversary of the end of the fighting on the Western Front of World War I. The two sides in that conflict negotiated an armistice, or ceasefire agreement, to take place on Nov. 11, 1918. In 1938, Congress made Armistice Day a national holiday. After World War II, in 1954, President Eisenhower changed the name to Veterans Day. In doing so, the day was given an even higher purpose: to honor all U.S. veterans no matter when they served, and to express our gratitude for their service. “There are people in our world who do not understand our freedoms, who see not need for our freedoms, and who would prefer that we do not have them,” Wheeler said. “Our veterans have sacrificed greatly sot hat we may keep and enjoy our rights. It is fitting and proper that we take the time today to express how grateful we are for what they have done.” The program continued with the Chillicothe FFA Chapter presenting the Colors and the CHS Choraliers singing the national anthem. To encourage the students to give meaningful thought to Veterans Day, CHS sponsored an essay contest with the theme “Freedom.” One essay was selected from the three upper classes and cash prizes awarded for the winning essays: Madelyn Wilford ($25) sophomore; Sarah Graves ($75) junior; and Alexei Dickerson ($75) senior. Each student read her essay during Friday’s program. In addition, Hayden Montgomery, a member of the CHS Leadership Class, gave a presentation about the Central Missouri Honor Flight program and told about upcoming fund-raising efforts to raise money for the program. As a tribute to the veterans, the CHS band performed a medley of the service anthems for the U.S. Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and the Navy. The veteran guests were asked to stand, if able, when the anthem representing their branch of service was played. The middle school program opened the entrance of military veterans as the honored guests. Patriotic music was provided by the CMS band and choir. The middle school twirlers and cheerleaders also gave patriotic performances. The program included guest speakers: Allisha Eckert (Air Force), Nate Davenport (Marines), Mike Jones (Army) and Stephen Helmer (Navy) speaking via a video message. Davenport brought with him a retired canine Marine, that was a bomb detection dog. Larry Warren, a local veteran, served as the master of ceremonies for the program and also spoke about the Coast Guard. Each school hosted a reception for veterans prior to their programs.