Tom Emmer, Minnesota’s Sixth District representative to the state House of Representatives, graced the stage as guest speaker at the St. Michael-Albertville High School’s Veterans Day ceremony Wednesday morning, where he urged students to ‘honor and never forget’ military veterans.
Emmer said that America has been willing to protect the light of freedom, both at home and across the globe, and that those who have fought for this freedom have made it possible for Americans to live safely.
The most poignant moment of Emmer’s speech came when he asked audience members to stand if they have lost a friend or loved one in service to the country. A pin drop could be heard as those students and veterans stood solemnly, some in tears.
“Ladies and gentlemen, these are the people we remember and honor today,” Emmer said. “We must never, never forget their sacrifice.”
On a lighter note, Emmer was met with cheers as he encouraged the Knights football team to bring home the state title this Saturday.
The Veterans Day program, emceed by seniors Elijah Rice and Lena Wilson, also included performances by the high school’s chamber choir and band, a flag folding ceremony, a presentation of colors and recognition of Veterans. STMA student Jack Mazurek narrated a description of the POW MIA table set in the middle of the gymnasium, with different items representing all that the POW MIA soldiers have sacrificed for the country.
The high school is the only STMA school with a formal Veterans Day assembly. At the elementary schools, students also learn about Veterans Day in the classroom and write letters to service members. At the middle school level, Middle School West principal Andy Merfeld said students learn about Veterans Day during their social studies classes.
“We reserve the assembly format for the high school, just developmentally for our students and due to the fact that they do such a great job bringing all the Vets in for that. It would be difficult to spread them out among six different schools,” Merfeld said. “More than anything, I think the Vets truly appreciate the care that goes into pausing and recognizing them. They deserve it.”