Darren Doyle, story and photos
As students, faculty, staff, veterans, county officials, and friends and family gathered at ECHS for the annual Veterans Day Ceremony and Voice of Democracy speeches, one common theme rang true with all speakers during the program: respect and honor.
First place winner Lauren Ballance, second place winner John Michael Mills, and third place winner Presley Kendall, all spoke of the need of having respect for one another as humans and respecting what it takes to keep democracy and freedom. They all spoke of honoring the flag, our country, and the veterans that fought and died for our way of live, along with those that are still fighting.
Ms. Ballance received a $500 prize for first, Mr. Mills received $300 for second, and Ms. Presley took home $200 for winning third place.
The student-led program began with the presentation of the colors by members of the ECHS color guard, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance by Senior Bailey Board, the playing of the National Anthem by the ECHS band, and then opening prayers, also led by students.
Mr. Edwin Vincent, a U.S. Air Force veteran and local VFW Post Commander recognized the dozens of veterans that attended the program, some from all branches of the Armed Forces including black, white, male, and female veterans from all walks of life.
The keynote speaker was former Edmonson County Sheriff and Army National Guard Veteran B.J. Honeycutt.
The program was closed out by Ms. Morgan Ray and Mr. Dawson Stith leading the crowd in closing prayer followed by a heartfelt rendition of "Taps," by the ECHS band.
Dozens of veterans and their families stayed after the program for fellowship and visiting. The Bank of Edmonson County provided a hospitality room for all veterans and their families. The Voice of Democracy awards were sponsored by Gravil Funeral Home, Madison's Flowers, Kyle White PVA, and Walmart #266 on Campbell Lane.
Other students entering the Voice of Democracy contest were: Olivia Forester, Morgan Ray, Lilleee Ashton Sanders, Sawyer Spainhoward, Haley Tarter, Cameron Vincent, and Kolbie Vincent.
The ECHS FFA greeted all visitors, handed out programs, and escorted them to the proper entrance today.