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Sandy students honor veterans at school ceremonies

Dec 01, 2017 08:00AM ● Published by Julie Slama

Those who have served and are serving in the military were honored at Eastmont Middle School’s fourth annual Veterans Day breakfast. (Kirsten Stewart/Canyons School District)

Gallery: Veterans Day [1 Image] Click any image to expand.

Eastmont Middle School students in the National Junior Honor Society served hot breakfast to veterans and those on active duty as well as to their families at the school’s fourth annual Veterans Day breakfast. After the Boy Scouts presented the flag, veterans heard the school choir sing, they read letters written to them by students and they listened to students speak.

“I’m so appreciative of our veterans; we can never do what they have done for us,” said eighth-grader Alexandra Hill, who spoke to the veterans.

In her speech, she said, “You are the reason we all wake up every day and go to sleep at night. You are the reason we learn and grow through education. You are the reason that our country was, is and always will be free. And for that, I thank you. We all do.”

Among the veterans was Principal Charisse Hilton’s uncle, Ken Allred, who served in World War II.

“I joined at 17 with the condition that I could graduate from high school,” he said. “Two days after graduation, I went to Great Lakes boot camp. I was excited and proud and looked at it as a great adventure when I left on the train for boot camp. My mom was crying and I couldn’t understand that at the time.”

While he was there, the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan and “things changed daily after that,” Allred said. “People knew the war was over and the streets were full of people in Chicago, waving flags and hugging. Everyone was elated the war was over and the servicemen would be coming home. Everyone was helping with the war effort in some way; I had lady cousins who worked in the shipyards. We all were doing our part.”

He served aboard the USS Bushnell submarine tender, a supply and medical ship that provided relief to sailors in Guam. He also served at Pearl Harbor as part of what is called a “kiddie cruise,” for those who enlisted before 18 and served for less than four years. Allred then re-enlisted and served 22 years in the Navy reserve as a steel worker and steel worker chief.

He has been on both an honor flight to Washington, D.C. and the 75th anniversary honor flight to Pearl Harbor.

“It’s very humbling to see the Arizona. It brings back lots of memories. I had good times in the service, but I’m not a hero. I was never in a really bad situation; I never had to dodge any bullets, but I am grateful and proud that I served. The Navy is a big part of me and still is. It was a brotherhood, a second family to me,” Allred said.

Other students shared a slide show and thanked veterans. “I want to change the world someday and because of people like you, I have the opportunity to do so,” an Eastmont student said.

Eighth-grader Merrin Maughan said she was glad that she was able to write letters and talk with veterans.

“We realize that every family member in America knows or has a veteran,” Maughan said, adding that she had family fight in every American war. “We all have someone who we can thank and can show our appreciation.”

At nearby Alta High, students and their families also invited veterans who were thanked for their service and sacrifice at the annual school-wide ceremony. 

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