Veterans’ Day Program at NCHS-”Welcome to the Ranks, Serve With Honor”

Kevin’s Gallery

Natchitoches Central High School held its annual Veterans’ Day program honoring our community’s veterans Monday, November 11. The entire student body gathered in the school’s main gym and participated in the event. The veterans were treated to breakfast in the NCHS cafeteria after which they were escorted into the gym by NCHS JROTC cadets. Veterans of each military branch were led by a cadet carrying their service’s flag as the student musicians played the service’s song. The entire NCHS cadet corps was on hand in dress uniforms to present the colors, perform for the crowd, introduce the speakers, organize and run the program. The NCHS Band and Orchestra played a selection of patriotic pieces throughout the morning. The students did a superb job.

NCHS Principal and Army veteran, Bill Gordy, welcomed everyone. The guest speaker, retired Army Master Sergeant, Scott A. Stetson, Sr., is no stranger to the NCHS student body. He has spoken numerous times to classes in the past few years. He served our nation for 23 years and is a veteran of 9 combat deployments. He served in the 3rd battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment, a special operations unit, that has been deployed continuously since 2001.

His talk was truly moving. The speech centered around the theme of service, sacrifice and commitment. The title of this article was borrowed in part by what he said after he asked the students who were entering the military after graduation to stand. “Welcome to the ranks, serve with honor.” Soldier, leader, husband, father and patriot, Scott Stetson embodies the values of service to others, community spirit and selflessness. It was an honor to hear him speak.

The Natchitoches Central High School community is to be commended for the superb job they did in presenting this program. The cadets did a wonderful job of organizing and putting on the event. The musicians of the orchestra and band are incredibly talented young men and women. The student body’s decorum was truly remarkable. Ms. Hudlow and Mr. Ballestas’ rendition of Taps was hauntingly beautiful. The NCHS Veterans’ Day Program is a wonderful example of small town life at its best. Thank you for inviting me.