For more than two decades students at Bishop Hogan Memorial School have led a Veterans Appreciation Program that involves each student int the school. This year’s program, held, Nov. 7, was no different. Students of all ages took part in through speaking roles, presentation of colors and singing a selection of patriot-themed musical selections.

Veterans of all ages, representing all branches of the military were in attendance and joined students for an appreciation luncheon following the program.

This year’s featured speaker was Missouri Army National Guard Captain Michael Pope. Pope served in active duty with the United States Army before joining the National Guard, where he has been stationed in Chillicothe and now Macon. He also served deployments to the Middle East where he worked in the mountains of Afghanistan starting in September 2012.

Pope said he comes from a family with a rich history of military service, but it was the events of Sept. 11, 2001, that ultimately led to his decision to join the Army.

“It was September 11, 2001, sitting in a history class that I knew I would be a soldier too,” he said.

During his years of service, Pope said he has learned very key lessons that are applicable to people of all ages.

“I have learned having a positive attitude will take you far,” he said. It doesn’t take talent to work hard and I have learned responsibility and accountability will get you far.”

The program ended with a slide show featuring area veterans and students singing musical selection like, “Proud of our veterans,” “America,” and “March of the Wee Americans”.