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Roswell schools honor nation’s veterans

The New Mexico Military Institute Goss Rifles Drill Team performs Thursday afternoon during a Veterans Day ceremony at Roswell High School. (Juno Ogle Photo)

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With posters, cheers, music and words, students in the Roswell Independent School District honored the nation’s military veterans Thursday on Veterans Day.

At Roswell High School, the RHS band played patriotic music in the gym as veterans were treated to a reception with punch and cookies. During the celebration, the band played the Armed Forces Medley and students and staff cheered as veterans from each of six branches stood as each official march or song for the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard played.

Maj. Gen. Jerry Grizzle, president and superintendent of New Mexico Military Institute, was the keynote speaker for the celebration. In his military career, Grizzle served as commander of the 90th Troop Command and commander of the 45th Infantry Brigade of the Oklahoma National Guard and deputy state area commander of the Oklahoma National Guard.

Grizzle drew from his own family history in his remarks, saying he is the descendant of a Civil War veteran and his father fought in the Korean War. But he also drew from U.S. history in honoring veterans.

“Most American veterans, including some of those assembled here today, can echo the words of Gen. Phil Sheridan who said ‘I never discussed the Constitution very much and never made any speeches about it, but I’ve done a good deal of fighting for it,’” Grizzle said.

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“As we pause to remember our veterans today, I think it’s only proper that we remind ourselves that American veterans helped write that document. Twenty-three of 40 men who signed the Constitution were veterans. George Washington and Alexander Hamilton are the well-known names. The lesser-knowns, Thomas Fitzsimons and Nicholas Gilman,” he said.

“Veterans, then and now, come from all walks of life. They were a cross-section of America with one thing in common — a love of country and freedom,” he said.

Veterans who attended the program said they were appreciative of the school’s efforts to celebrate their service.

“It’s very beautiful. It means a lot,” said Navy veteran Danielle Thompson, Roswell. Her niece and daughter attend RHS. She served in the Navy from 2007 to 2011, stationed in Norfolk, Virginia, and was deployed twice, to the Mediterranean Sea and Arabian Gulf.

Leonard Gonzales was a U.S. Army Ranger, serving for three years in Vietnam.

“It’s pretty nice to be appreciated,” he said.

“I’d do it again,” he said of his service. “I love my country. I love my people in the country.”

Valley View Elementary School also celebrated veterans Thursday morning. Students lined the playground holding posters they made honoring the military branches — even the newest branch, Space Force — with messages such as “God bless America,” “Honoring all who served” and “Thank you.”

A color guard from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia presented the U.S., New Mexico and FLETC flags with a bugler performing the national anthem and taps.

The student council led the veterans on a parade into the building, where students and staff applauded and cheered for the veterans, who were then treated to a breakfast in the gym.

Mountain View Middle School will have a ceremony honoring veterans at 10:30 a.m. Friday with a performance by the school choir and speaker Louis Mestas, commander of American Legion Post 28.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

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