A tribute to service : Mark Twain students prepare to welcome vets

November 2013 Posted in Arts, Culture & History, School

The question the students in Mark Twain Leadership teacher Darby Hector’s class had to answer seemed simple: What would you say to the men and women who are veterans of the U.S. military? The seventh and eighth-grade students pondered the question and then wrote what they would share.

The assignment was part of the Leadership Class work to prepare for the annual Veteran’s Day assembly Friday, Nov. 8, 2 to 2:50 p.m. at the school, 425 N. Church St., Silverton. Veterans are invited come and bring a guest to the recognition assembly. If you are a veteran and plan to attend, please call the school at 503-873-5317 so your name can be called during the program.

All veterans are invited to call the school and make arrangements to attend the assembly: 503-873-5317

Below is what the students wrote to the veterans in Mount Angel, Silverton and Scotts Mills.


Veteran’s Day means a lot to me and to a lot of other people. That men and women fought for our freedom is one of the most important parts. We can go to college, have the right to speak freely and women’s rights. They went through intensive training to give us freedom to live our life the way we want to live. We can have our own religion or our own beliefs. This is why we take a day to remember the wonderful people who gave us a free America. – Isabelle Gilbert


Everyone knows someone in their family or someone that is in their friend’s family, but is it enough to say “Thank You” only on Veterans Day? Should we only think about them on Veterans Day? The people who saved lives on the front lines deserve more than one day to be honored for their courage. That is why we have hosted the calling of veterans from surrounding areas. To honor them. – William Sisley


Thank you for going out of your way and going into the way of harm to serve and protect our freedom in America. If we didn’t have brave Americans in the service, our country would not be the way it is today. Children with an education, freedom of speech, and safety are basic freedoms we take for granted, but you make them possible. No matter what country you went to or what you did, you still matter to me. – Mason Boen

They said the scars were there, but no matter how hard I looked, I never saw anything. Were they lying? I wondered. When I questioned my mother, all she said was: look into his eyes. And I did.

All the pain, the torture, and the hurt he had ever seen in his years of serving washed over me, pounding on my head like relentless hail. It was too much for my child-sized body. That was the day my naïveté disappeared. I started screaming, flailing my arms and legs as I tore at the carpet, begging for it to go away. It never did.

When I look back now, I do not see a man, but a miracle. A miracle who not only fought for his life, but my freedom. A freedom that too many of us take for granted every day.

I no longer am afraid to look into his eyes, because when I do, I still see the scars, but they are scars of not a man fearing his past, but as something to be proud of, so that every morning when he sits up in bed, he can say: I did my part and I did it well. And every morning when I sit up in bed, I can say: Thank you.     

– Amity Irving


Behind every veteran is a heart, a heart willing to risk their life for our country. Without them, our lives would not be the same. Women might not have equal rights or be able to get a good job. Freedom isn’t free, veterans worked hard to make our lives better. And with their courageous decision, we get that freedom. – Lily Worden


What is Veteran’s Day about? Veteran’s Day is a day held on Nov. 11, the anniversary of World War 1 to honor the U.S. Veterans; people that have served in the armed forces and in wars and are serving in wars and the armed forces today. Our 28th president, Woodrow Wilson, first proclaimed Armistice Day (Veteran’s Day), on Nov. 11, 1919. Soldiers go to war to keep our country free. They see heart shattering images that they can’t un-see. The soldier’s families get heart-breaking news when their family members die in the war. Here are ways some people let veterans know they are appreciated: writing thank you cards and helping out the veterans and their families. U.S. veterans are honored in every way, shape and kind! – Autumn Hurst


Thank you for your service as a veteran. I appreciate you because you risked your life to make this world better and for making us feel safe in this awesome country. I think that you are wonderful for doing everything that you can to protect us. I honestly think you are the bravest veterans ever! I really look up to you all for everything that you have done. – Matthew V. Land 


Dear veterans, we came here to give you something you deserve: a huge thank you! Thank you for serving us and protecting us, making us feel like this country is a better place to live in. You serve your country to make it a free country. Risking your life to keep us safe is amazing. Everyone in this town will be giving you a big thank you. A lot of people here just don’t want to give you a big thank you, no wait, we came to gave you a massive thank you. I honestly would like to honor you myself. – Maximiliano Gaspar


Thank you for helping keep us safe and protected. We thank you for risking your life to protect people and thank you for keeping our country safe. Thank you for being brave and courageous for other people’s safety. Thank you for serving our country. We appreciate your efforts. – Hunter Meisner


Thank you Veterans for fighting for independence; your life on the line. Protecting what’s right and guarding what you hold most dear. Guarding our country, all you have given, all you  sacrificed. You gave us freedom. Thank you, veterans, for fighting for our freedom. We are in your debt. – Gabriel Kofstad

I interviewed the remarkable veteran, 43-year-old Tonja Michelle Pardo. She answered many questions about her experience in the military. Here are a few questions I asked her.

What wars did you serve in the Army?“Military during the Persian Gulf War and went to Columbia for the Invasion of Panama.”

How long did you serve for? How old were you when you signed up for the Army?

She enlisted when she was 18 years old and served for seven years.

Did you ever get hurt? 

“Yes, while I jumped out of a C-5 [airplane] and didn’t tuck my head correctly, due to having motion sickness, and was knocked unconscious. I remained unconscious until about 5 seconds until I was suppose to land. I landed incorrectly and broke my tailbone.

Why did you join? 

I joined because after graduating from high school because I didn’t want to go to college yet. I planned to only stay in the Army for three years but I reenlisted for another four once my three years was up.

– Emily Huyck  



A lot of times in our history, our freedom was at risk. So how did we keep them? The men and women who fought or currently fight in our military take our freedoms and our safety into their own hands. Without these courageous people, girls and women might not be able to go to school or have a job. They wouldn’t have equal rights as the men. You might not be allowed to jeans and a t-shirt to school. These people are the ones who fight so we can speak freely, or wear what we want, or go to college. That is why we need to thank them. Because, without these amazing people, we wouldn’t have our freedoms, which are certainly not free. And we might not be the same kind of people as we are now. Thank you for all your service Silverton veterans! – Madeleine Traver


There are many things to be grateful for and our veterans should be one of them. Our veterans have gone to war or served in an armed force and some veterans gave their lives to give us freedom in the United States.

Some veterans were not treated well when they came back to the United States from a war. Our veterans might not know how much we appreciate them. If you know a veteran, thank them for their hard work and for giving their lives for our freedom. – Caitlin Fisher

To Our Vets
Brave and true,
We are proud of you
Win or lose
There will always be a bruise
We all have scars
Yours are worse than ours
Not everyone would fight in a war
Just to settle a score
No one thinks you’re ordinary
But everyone thinks you’re extraordinary
You are strong inside and out
That we owe a debt to you, there is no doubt
You march into war in a brave manner
To fight for your life and for the Star Spangled banner
You fight for your loved ones
For husbands or wives, daughters or sons
As you live on
Your grief and sadness gone
And we’ll never forget
That we owe you thanks, our vets

– Emily Candee



Thank you for helping keep us safe. Thank you for being brave. Thank you for risking your life to insure others well-being. Thank you for not just protecting us but the whole country. If it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t feel as safe. Thank you for all you have done. – Jack Manion

Veteran
Freedom, Honorable
Fighting, Serving, Defending
Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta
Risking lives, sacrificing, achieving
Brave, Determined
American Soldier

– William Wright

We celebrate Veteran’s Day to honor and thank all of the men and women who served in the military and risked their own lives for our freedom. They must know how much we appreciate them. Without them, our lives would never be the same. They made it possible for people to simply speak their minds freely, for women to attend school and get a good education, to wear the clothes they want and live how they want to. They experience things no one else in the world would be able to go through simply for the sake of their country and people, expecting nothing in return. Not knowing if they will ever see their family and friends again, they still fight so we can do the simple things in life. Thank you so much Veterans. Without you, we wouldn’t be us. – Maggie Roth


Thank you for your service to our country.  Without you, the U.S. would not be as safe. Thank you for risking your life for the U.S. and the world. Because of your service, we live in a better and safer place. Thank you for going into battles knowing that you were fighting for our country. Your service has saved many people here and around the globe. Thank you for being so brave. All of Mark Twain gives you our thanks. Thank you for your service to our country. I personally thank you for your service. – Chase Winslow


Veterans are very brave people. They have to go through many different training camps to be a soldier. Many of them fight in wars for our country. Veterans are soldiers that are retired and do not fight in wars anymore. There are five branches in the military. The first branch is the Army, they operate on land. Second branch is the Navy, they operate in water. Third is the Air Force, they operate in the air. Fourth is the Marines they operate in all of these places. Coast Guard is also part of the military. We honor the people who serve in the National Guard. People who are in the military are brave people and we thank those people who have served and who are currently serving. Thank you for everything you have done for our country! – Jenna Slater

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