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Students receive lesson in service
If students at Needwood Middle School did not understand the meaning of Veterans Day before Thursday, they do now.

The entire student body was joined by around 100 community members and veterans for an hour-long ceremony honoring those who have served in America's armed forces.

Veterans Day, which falls on a Sunday this year, will be observed in the community and across much of the rest of the nation Monday.

"Members of our armed forces have made many sacrifices," said principal Jim Pulos, who had a 20-year career in the Army.

Those sacrifices are not always physical, he told the crowd.

"They spend months or years at a time away from their families," Pulos said.

After musical performances by the Needwood Middle School band, Brunswick High School band and the Needwood Middle School step team, retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Frank Lewis, a Vietnam veteran, told the students being a veteran means more than simply serving in a branch of the armed forces.

Serving in the military is like signing a blank check with a price that can be as high as the loss of life.

"Sadly, though, too many of those checks have been cashed," Lewis said.

That price is something that should be remembered, he added.

"If you can read, thank a teacher. If you learned to read in English, thank a veteran," Lewis said.

Glynn County School Board member and retired Navy Cmdr. Millard Allen spoke on the history and importance of Veterans Day.

The day to honor those who served was originally called Armistice Day in commemoration of the agreement to end World War I, Allen said. It was supposed to be the war that ended all wars, he added.

"Unfortunately, we have had several more wars since," Allen said.

In those and during peace time, millions of men and women have served their country through the armed forces, Allen said.

"Nearly everyone here has had a family member who has served," he said.

Their commitment to their country is paramount because freedom is most certainly not free, Allen said.

It requires the courage of people willing to put their lives on the line for their nation.

"(Freedom) is earned and retained by young men and women who are still going in harms way today," Allen said. "So when you see a veteran, say thank you for your service. Hug him or her. Salute him or her."

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