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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Ridgecrest Veterans Day ceremony thanks veterans, active military for service

Oct 17, 2018 09:59AM ● By Jana Klopsch

Veterans and active military members will be honored as they were last year during the Armed Forces Medley at the school's annual Veterans Day assembly. (Idie Atencio/Ridgecrest Elementary)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

On Friday, Nov. 9, Stars and Stripes will adorn the front of Ridgecrest Elementary, allowing the community to pause and recognize the service and sacrifice veterans and active military have given their country.

As part of the 9:15 a.m. assembly, local veterans and active military related to Ridgecrest students are invited to take place in the school ceremony that will teach students about its origin with Armistice Day, the renaming of the holiday to Veterans Day, and the purpose, said parent Mary Pat Dowd, who is coordinating the assembly with teachers Bonnie White, Sherise Longhurst and Amanda Lundberg. 

“Well ahead of time, students will be encouraged to invite family and friends who have served, who are currently serving, to join us on this day,” she said. “We invite them to come for breakfast and stay for our observance of this important holiday in America.”

With the help of Colonial Flags Foundation and Marine Sergeant Thomas Tison, a U.S. Marine Corps color guard will present the colors before White and Longhurst sing the national anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance is recited.

Marine Staff Sergeant Janet Malone will be the keynote speaker addressing what Veterans Day means to her.

“It will be a teachable moment as she will distinguish veteran from active duty person,” Dowd said.

Malone, who has been in the service for eight years, has worked her first six years with the service as a paralegal.

“The military offered an opportunity to grow in confidence as well as pursue her interest in law,” Dowd said. 

Currently, Malone is a recruiter based in Sandy.

“In her capacity as recruiter, she likes to build relationships with people who are interested in enlisting as that person will become part of the USMC family. Her recruiter told her that in the USMC, everything is earned, nothing is given. If you earn it, you will appreciate it more,” Dowd said, adding that Malone selected the branch for the challenge of being a female Marine.

Those who are serving or have served in the military will be recognized while the 50-member Ridgecrest choir sings the “Armed Forces Medley.” Last year, about 25 servicemen and servicewomen were recognized. 

“It’s really touching when we honor them, and they’re pleased to be thanked,” Principal Julie Winfree said. 

The choir also will perform “America the Beautiful.”

Before the assembly, fifth-graders will have written essays about Veterans Day and one student will be selected to share the essay at the assembly.

“This year, we will have students prepare special, handmade tokens of appreciation to each guest. Last year, we made cards for those in attendance and delivered them to the William Christoffersen Veterans Home in Salt Lake,” Dowd said.

The assembly will close with “Taps.” 

Dowd said this is to keep all the veterans who fought and sacrificed “close to our hearts and in our memory.”

Ridegcrest has held a Veterans Day assembly for at least 10 years.

“We hope by this annual assembly and observance that our students will always cherish and hold dear the privileges that are sometimes taken for granted living in the land of the free and the home of the brave,” Dowd said. “We want our students to understand that our veterans deserve our sincere thanks for making it possible.”