By Chris Umscheid
North Liberty Leader
NORTH LIBERTY— Heritage Christian School administrator Mike Annis had two wishes on Veterans Day: that the veterans attending the school’s annual Veterans Day program knew how much they were appreciated; and also that his students would understand the freedom they enjoy today has come at the expense of many before them.
“Every year, we see a growing disconnect between the generation coming up and the cost of freedom,” Annis said during his opening remarks on Friday, Nov. 11. Annis feels too many people do not realize freedom is not free, it was secured by the sacrifices of the men and women of our armed forces from the dawn of the country through today.
Those sacrifices range from separation from family for an extended period of time, to the perils of combat, injury and even the ultimate sacrifice: their very lives.
Veterans from a variety of eras, all with direct ties to the school either through a student or staff member, gathered in the gym where patriotic music was played and sung, there was reflection on the service they’d given the nation, and for a slide show tribute to 85 vets from the Civil War to today.
“One of the greatest ways to teach the cost of freedom is to highlight the people around them (the students) that have paid the price for freedom,” Annis said. “We are not born patriots; we are raised to be patriots. We are not born to serve, we are raised to serve.”
In his closing remarks, Annis told the defenders of freedom “we want to ensure that you understand how much we appreciate you. There is no way to adequately convey to the children the cost of freedom, but know this, we try. I desperately want them to know what this country has cost.”
At the conclusion of the event, the veterans lined up across the gym floor, and the students marched past, stopping one-by-one to shake hands with each veteran, and to say “thank you.”
“We’ve reaped the benefits of your service,” said Annis.