PHOTO: The Fort Payne Guitar class conducts their rendition of, "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A. lead by Director Chris Roberts. (Tyler Pruett | Southern Torch)
By Tyler Pruett, Managing Editor
FORT PAYNE, Ala. — (Video at the Bottom) Earlier today, Fort Payne High School held their annual Veteran's Day Program in their Gymnasium. Music was provided by the FPHS Band, Chorus, and Guitar class. Brigadier General (Retired) Les Fuller served as the guest speaker and addressed the students and veterans present for the program.
The service begun by the Marching band playing, "America the Beautiful," directed by Band Director Ian Pask. FPHS JROTC Executive Officer c/Major Lilly Sparks lead the program in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Brian Jett, Principal of Fort Payne High School, welcomed the guests by saying in part, "A quote that I've used before, but I really enjoy it, is from President John F. Kennedy: 'Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, beat any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty."
"That's probably my favorite quote of any of the Presidents, there is so many, but I really like that because I think it really symbolizes our veterans; because they have paid the price and sacrificed so much for us," said Jett, who then reviewed the history of Veteran's Day (originally known as 'Armistice Day').
The Fort Payne Guitar class performed renditions performed renditions of John Fogerty's 'Born in the U.S.A.' and John Mellencamp's 'R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.' The FPHS Chorus also sung, 'The Armed Force- The Pride of America,' which included the official song of each branch of the Armed Forces. Veterans present of each branch stood when their respective services were recognized.
Cadet Battalion Commander c/LTC Guadalupe Orozco also explained the significance of the red "Poppy" flowers worn by veterans on the holiday, and read the poem "Flanders Field."
Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) John Walker introduced guest speaker Brigadier General (Retired) Les Fuller. Walker said of Fuller, in part, "Fuller is a 35 year Army veteran, with an impressive record of achievement in Armor, Infantry, and Special Operations assignments. His first years focused on Armor and Infantry assignments."
"He subsequently transitioned to Special Operations; serving in key command in establishing the 5th, 7th, and 10th Special Forces Groups, and a tour as the commander of the Stabilization Forces, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, from February to August, 1997," stated Walker.
Walker also said that Fuller served as, "Commanding General, Special Operations Command - Europe, Deputy Commanding General - United States Army Recruiting Command, Interim Commanding General - Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and Chief of Staff of NATO Forces - ISAFV, Afghanistan."
Gen. Fuller remarked to the audience: "It's great to be here, it's great to see the veterans, and it's great to see what your town and what your school is doing to let the veterans know how important their work and sacrifice was and is to you."
After recognizing the veterans present and their spouses, Fuller said, "Veteran's Day is a celebration of all those who have served and continue to serve our nation with honor and distinction."
Fuller discussed the commitment and sacrifice of American Veterans, and the importance of future generations continuing to remember these sacrifices:
"They (veterans) live by Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless-Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage," explained Fuller. "These Veterans; Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines do not leave their skills and values behind once they take off their uniform for the last time and transition to civilian life. These men and women have the knowledge, skills, and attributes to get any job accomplished. They are some of the most talented, dedicated, and entrepreneurial professionals in the world. And they often use the skills they gained in the military to continue to serve their community."
After Fuller's remarks, the program concluded with, 'America the Beautiful,' directed by Mr. Pask.
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