By Chris Kieffer
SHANNON – The speaker at Shannon Middle School’s Veterans Day program on Monday urged students to take full advantage of the opportunities provided by the service of others.
William Shack, who retired from the Mississippi Army National Guard in 2001 with more than 29 years of military service, also told the pupils that many of them would be the veterans of the future.
“I want to encourage our students today to honor our veterans and to make a promise to yourself that while you have the opportunity and freedom, you will take the time to study and work with your teachers and get the best education available to you so you will enjoy those freedoms and become a productive member of the United States,” Shack said while speaking in the school’s auditorium.
Shack, a Tupelo native, enrolled in the Army at age 18 in 1971. He spent a year-and-a-half in Okinawa, Japan, during the Vietnam War and later served at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. He moved to the Army National Guard and had attained the rank of master sergeant before he retired.
He continues to work with the Mississippi Army National Guard Family Program.
“No nation can truly say they believe in freedom if they forget their veterans’ sacrifice and work,” Shack said.
Shannon’s program also featured performances by the school’s chorus and the reading of student poems.
“It was good to show respect for our veterans because they served for us, to keep us free,” said eighth-grader Martavious Fells.
Shannon Middle Principal Barry Woods, who spent 10 years in the Army National Guard and served in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005, also reminded the students they are the beneficiaries of the sacrifice of others.
“This was our recognition and tribute to our veterans past, present and future,” Woods said.