A Homecoming for Veterans

9 years 7 months 2 weeks ago November 10, 2007 Nov 10, 2007 Saturday, November 10 2007 Saturday, November 10, 2007 12:18:19 AM CST in News

Southern Boone County High School invited back alumnus James Cunningham, a 1943 graduate of then-Ashland High School, to be the keynote speaker at the school-wide assembly. As class president, Cunningham spoke at his graduation in the middle of World War II.

Student Tyler Knierim says the assembly gives him a greater appreciation of the veterans' military service.

"I appreciate it, and I know a lot of the people in student council and clubs that are involved really appreciate their service and know what they had to sacrifice," says Knierim.

A Missouri Statute requires all school districts to devote one class period each year to the observance of Veteran's Day.

Decorations and pictures of loved ones who have served, including Cunningham's class photo, filled the high school.

"My wife was in the same high school class with me, so we were childhood sweethearts," says Cunningham.

But every veteran of Ashland High School has his own story.

After Allen Nichols graduated from Ashland High in 1958, he enlisted in the United States Navy in 1960.

"They were very proud of me cause I was the first one in my family to go into the service," says Nichols.

Southern Boone County High School began the veteran's assembly three years ago, and the students say they look forward to the celebration and decorating their school for all the men who served their country.

"My parents raised me that you always respect veterans," says the assembly's coordinator, Leslie Hoffman. "You thank veterans for their service. Both of my grandfathers were World War II vets. You always thank them."

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