By Edward JohnsonNovember 14, 2019
In honor of Veterans Day, more than 420 children, Soldiers and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers personnel joined forces to recognize local-area veterans, here, Nov. 11.
The event, hosted by the Cleveland, Okla., Intermediate School, included live music, as well as patriotic songs and a science, technology, engineering and mathematics presentation by U.S. Army Capt. Shaun Swayne, currently serving as an engineer officer with USACE-Tulsa District.
According to Swayne, "It was a real honor to speak to the Cleveland-area students about Veterans Day and career opportunities with the U.S. Army."
"I was also humbled to have the privilege of speaking with the community's veterans and learn from their wartime experiences across the years and many battlefields," added Swayne.
November 11, 1918, is generally considered the end of World War I. On the 11th hour of the 11th day, of the 11th month, the sounds of European cannons and rifles fell silent after more than four years of fighting. In 1938, Congress declared Armistice Day a holiday, and, in 1954, the name officially changed to Veterans Day.
"It's important to let our American youth know if they desire a career with the U.S. Army, one way to do so is focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related skills and education," said Swayne.
Third grade students summed up the day's activities as follows:
"I liked the badges on [their] uniforms," Sophia C. (8).
"I liked how their uniforms were green," October S. (8).
"I liked how some of their uniforms were old fashioned," Addley N. (8).
Anja Johnson, the school's music and art teacher, put it this way, "The Cleveland Intermediate school youth were extremely excited to learn about our Nation's military and the men and women who've served to defend and protect our country."
"We've been rehearsing for this event for several weeks and our students were excited to take part in this celebration to honor our Nation's veterans," said Johnson.
According to the school's principle, Jeremy D. McKinney, "It's really important for our kids to know the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day, while also instilling in them a better understanding of what our veterans have done for, not just us, but future generations."
"And how fortunate our youth are to live in the greatest Nation in the world because of sacrifices the men and women of our military have made to support us here and around the globe," added McKinney.
The U.S. Army joins the Nation to honor our veterans on Nov. 11, and ensure the service and sacrifice of our veterans is never overlooked or forgotten.
Unlike Memorial Day, held annually in May, to recognize the Nation's fallen military personnel, Veterans Day commemorates all veterans for their service to the Nation.
During the event, Cleveland schoolchildren were also afforded an opportunity to meet the Army Corps' very-own water safety dog.
Dubbed "Bobber," the dog handed out water safety information performed a series of dance moves and tricks while sporting a full-sized life jacket.
Bobber also handed out more than 400 bags of water safety "swag" to help educate the youth on how best to stay safe while recreating on or near the water.
"Wuff, wuff, wuff," said Bobber, as he demonstrated the proper wear of a personal flotation device.
Located on Keystone Lake, approximately 15 miles west of Tulsa, Okla., the Cleveland Intermediate school kids expressed great appreciation for their local veterans during the ceremony.
As acknowledged by the school's children, teachers and administrative staff, when Soldiers return to their communities as full-time civilians they bring with them a wide variety of skills and attributes gained through military service.
The Army plans to continue collaborative efforts with the Department of Defense, other services, federal agencies, schools and industry partners, to ensure its veterans are connected with the resources and support they need and deserve ito live fulfilling, productive lives after their military service.
As part of this effort, Capt. Swayne encouraged the youth in attendance to explore science, technology and engineering career opportunities.
"Do you like working with computers and video games or solving complex problems?" asked Swayne."
Most of the school children raised their hands in excitement. The resounding response was, "Yes!"
"I encourage each and every one of you to do the best you can in mathematics, engineering and science so that you can be future leaders in your community and beyond," said Swayne at the conclusion of his remarks.