Recent Lisbon grads in service return to talk of meaning of Veterans Day

LISBON – Three graduates of David Anderson High School returned on Monday in military uniforms to talk to other veterans and the students about the meaning of Veterans Day.

Mark Boley, a 2007 Lisbon graduate and Senior Airman with the Air Force, said although many believe it is proper to thank those veterans who served in wartime, many veterans have also served during peace.

“A veteran is anyone who raised their right hand in the air and promised to protect this country from all enemies, both foreign and domestic,” Boley said, adding only 1 percent of people ever take such an oath.

There are sacrifices made by all military members, whether it is facing death on the battlefield or committing several years of their lives to service.

“When I was deployed is when I realized just what I gave up,” Boley said.

He thanked the other veterans present for paving the way for other service members like himself.

Sgt. Zach Freeland of the Army Air National Guard is also a 2007 Lisbon graduate. He said he owes his decision to join the military to his brother Tyler, after attending his brother’s basic training graduation ceremony.

“He had gone from being a boy to a man, from a citizen to a soldier,” Zach Freeland said. “It’s been the best decision I’ve ever made.”

Freeland said he spent a year serving in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and returned home to hug his family and let them know he was going to be OK.

Courtney Morrell, who graduated just last spring, enlisted in the Navy in July. A seaman apprentice, Morrell will soon be on her way to Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean for the next year. Wiping away a tear as she spoke, Morrell talked about how humbling it is to have someone thank you for serving. She said it leaves her speechless some times.

High School Principal Joe Siefke noted all three of the graduates spoke about their gratitude and thanks of the other veterans also on stage, who gave them a choice to serve. The high school hosted a group of veterans, who had served from World War II to present. Each one was announced individually on the stage.

Besides listening to music by the band and choir and the speeches, veterans were shown a video made by students. The video depicted photos and clips of veterans in action and also showed staff, students and local veterans voicing their feelings about what Veterans Day means to them.