Honoring Service Returns Nov. 11

Veterans Day Program Planned; Radcliff Signed up to Serve

After the annual Veteran’s Day program was put at a standstill last year due to COVID, for the 2021-2022 school year the in person program will resume for all students and staff.

Starting at 10 a.m. on Thursday, November 21, the colors will be presented to the student body and the public, mask policy being decided at a later date.

Veteran guests will be introduced and recognized, and the Pride of Paoli will play and salute to the Armed Forces. Freshman Mary Cook will be singing a special for our troops, and Senior Chief Sablan will be the main speaker. U.S. history teacher and Veteran’s Day Organizer Chris Lindley will have his advanced U.S. history class introduce the guests and read a piece and a poem in honor of those who have fought for our country.

Lindley has been the coordinator for over a decade, and being able to play a prominent part in this program holds a special place in his heart.

“I organize the Veterans Day program each year for a couple reasons. One, PHS has a long tradition of very well-done programs honoring our veterans that began under former speech and television production teacher Cynthia Webb. When the state began requiring that schools acknowledge the importance of the day in the 1990s, she produced high quality programs that became a source of pride for our school and local veterans. I was fortunate to assist Mrs. Webb in this endeavor for several years. When she retired, she asked me to continue and I agreed.

“The second reason I do these is to bring recognition and honor to a class of men and women who have made significant sacrifices to our nation and continue to offer much support to our community. We can argue that they received wages, training, and money for college and are no different than other Americans. But, they are also asked to make sacrifices that average citizens do not such as deployments, time away from families, and often being placed in harm’s way. Some suffer life-changing disabilities: physical, mental, emotional. In cases of combat experience, they will never be the same people again. For all this, I trust we can spend a little time honoring them.

“Lastly, I do this to remind our students of the cost of freedom and the importance of service to keep a nation strong. These veterans were once young people just like them who made a choice to serve. Their example challenges us to do likewise. Our community and our nation needs our service, and this program does just that as it uses our talents and resources to offer back to these worthy members of our community our gratitude and respect.”

One member of the senior class has already made the commitment to serve after high school.

Senior Gus Radcliff has already made a commitment to serve his country. Radcliff has enlisted in the US Navy, the only senior fully committed to serving in this branch.

“I have always wanted to serve my country and one of the biggest reasons is that I want to see the world while helping others too,” said Radcliff.

In order to become enlisted in the Navy, one must get an ASVAB score of 35 or higher and be mentally and physically healthy enough to meet the high standards of the military.

“I met with my recruiter multiple times before I made my final decision. We had many meetings and discussions about my requirements and qualifications,” said Radcliff.

Radcliff will begin his time in the Navy on June 22, 2022, where he will report to Basic Training at RTC (Recruit Training Command), Great Lakes, Illinois. He will be there for a total of 18 weeks, doing basic as well as specific job training to become an operation specialist.

Although there are other students interested in joining, no one is as fully committed as Radcliff yet.

“If anyone is interested in knowing more about the World’s Greatest Navy, please contact me,” said Radcliff.

Story by Gracie Walls