MHS honors veterans

Published 2:52 pm Thursday, November 9, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Maplesville High School observed Veterans Day with recognition of local veterans and a ceremony on Nov. 9.

Veterans present was announced with their branch, years and location of service.

In add addition to veterans who were present, Maplesville also recognized several high school graduates from Maplesville that now serve in the U.S. military.

Kurt Wallace, who served in the U.S. Air Force, was the guest speaker.
Several of Wallace’s family members have served in the military, including his father, all of his uncles and two brothers.
Wallace enlisted in the Air Force after graduating from MHS in 1975. He was stationed in North Dakota, where he was responsible for guarding nuclear weapons.
He has also served as mayor of Maplesville and in the state House of Representatives.
“Today is very special for me… I’ve never been asked to speak to veterans before,” Wallace said. ” I want you to know how proud I am to be a part of this elite group, (and) how proud I am to have served my country.”
Wallace began his presentation by explaining that Memorial Day is to honor those who died in service to their country, while Veterans Day honors all those who served and are serving in the military.
“We honor them because freedom isn’t free,” Wallace said.
He said Americans would not be able to enjoy the freedoms they have today if there were not people willing “to answer the call” and defend this country.
“These men and women were willing to do more than just say they love America they actually went out and joined the service, actually laid their lives down or were willing to for America,” Wallace said.
He explained that veterans are those who served at least 180 days active duty or 20 years of honorable service in a branch of the military, whether one of the five active branches or one of the seven reserve branches.
For every person that serves on the front lines today, there are at least six support personnel making sure they have what they need, Wallace said
These men and women, he said, “swore an oath, a pledge of allegiance, … to protect this country to their dying breath should that be necessary.”
Many have died in service to this country, others have been wounded to the point of being disabled.
During World War I, 12 percent of the United States served in the military. Today less than 1 percent serve in the military, according to Wallace.
Wallace said war is necessary because of tyrants and dictators in the world. He said we cannot just stand by and watch others be hurt because tyrants won’t stop unless someone stands up to them.
“When we do nothing, it emboldens people who have a mean streak,” Wallace said.
He said too many Americans “don’t see their freedoms for what they are — God given rights that we have to defend.”