I dont know a single veteran who doesnt feel a sense of pride when thanked for our service, said Bob Farmer, Vice Commander of the Belmont County American Legion Council. Farmer was the guest speaker at the Veterans Day program on Thursday, Nov. 8 at Union Local Middle School. Farmer said veterans and current service men and women are increasingly being thanked for their service. If you really want to make a veterans day, young or old, just stick out your hand and say thank you for your service. It means the world to us.

Farmer, a graduate of Bellaire High School and a member of many local veterans organizations, told students it was a great honor to be the speaker. He said he had attended the ULMS assembly last year and had marked it on his calendar to attend, before being asked to be the speaker.

Union Local schools are a great friend to local veterans, he said. Farmer was the featured speaker at the schools 9-11 remembrance ceremony in September.

Farmer said he asked many fellow veterans what he should say to the students. He said they all had the same replies.

They all said they were proud to have served this nation and would do so again, he said. Farmer told students, community members and fellow veterans in attendance that veterans are proud to have defended our freedoms. In particular, Farmer talked about the freedom to vote and said that in Americas recent presidential election, voters had the freedom to vote without military or government interference. That is not so in other countries, he said. In the United States of America when you vote for a president, regardless of whom you choose, there is no military presence. Veterans fought and died for this freedom.

Farmer told students that they should also remember to thank the families of veterans, because they also make sacrifices. They live their lives in constant paranoia that they will get that knock on the door and the news that their loved one made the ultimate sacrifice in service.

Farmer also urged the students to stop what he feels is the cheapening of the word heroes.

Veterans dont consider themselves heroes. They feel those who lost their lives are the heroes, he said. Doing a job doesnt make you a hero. Help us stop the cheapening of the word hero.

The program, sponsored by the Middle School Student Council, also featured performances by the band and choir. Student Council officers read select poems describing the meaning of Veterans Day. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Mackenzie McGary. The choir performed Star Spangled Banner and My America. The band performed God Bless America. Opening and closing remarks were given by Zack Lucas. Maiah Miller read I am What You Make Me. Mike Chambers read I am the Flag and Josh Knox read Prayer for America. The Posting of Colors was done by Flushing Post #366.

A complimentary breakfast was provided in the middle school cafeteria for veterans immediately following the program.