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Constance VanWoerkm

Buddy Ray Zoll, Alaina Ogden’s grandfather, speaks about the Patriots, alive and fallen, who served and sacrificed for the United States of America.

Alta Honors Veterans at Annual Assembly

Alta continued their tradition of holding a veterans day assembly last Friday.

For History Teacher Rob Murphy, the annual Veteran’s Assembly is his favorite day of the year. Murphy, a U.S. Army veteran, loves Alta’s tradition of honoring veterans with an assembly every Veterans Day.

“I look forward to the assembly every year,” Murphy said. “It feels nice to be appreciated.”

Dressed in “Sunday best,” Alta students filed into the gym bleachers last Friday, a gesture of respect to all of the veterans and serviceman in attendance.

Junior Michael Bastian was proud of Alta students for showing up and being respectful. “I loved how many students showed up and dressed well to show respect for veterans, and the sacrifices they have all made for us.”

The assembly kicked off as drill presented the colors, led by Todd Hyer, retired Sandy City Fire Chief and teacher Kenzie Hyer’s father. The Madrigals then sang the national anthem, followed by a performance of “The Irish Blessing.” A large round of applause was then cut quiet as allĀ  veterans in attendance were honored by name, followed by a moment of silence for all those who had lost their lives in service of the country.

Hyer, along with the Drill Team, has been part of the patriotic and respectful flag ceremony at this assembly for years. He views participation in the ceremony as a “wonderful opportunity.”

Hyer has spent his life and career defending core values and beliefs of the United States. “I am honored to show my respect to my country and the veterans,” he said. “I hope to continue this tradition as long as I am able.”

Everyone felt really connected. It was really special to see so many Alta students come together and show respect.”

— Ryker Brand, Madrigal's

The Veterans Assembly serves to unite and connect both young and old and teaches everyone to appreciate the blessings freedom affords. “Everyone felt really connected,” said Madrigals member Ryker Brand, “It was really special to see so many Alta students come together and show respect.”

Following the recognition of those in attendance, Mr. Shabestari’s band classes performed a medley piece, recognizing the five branches of the armed forces. Veterans in attendance were encouraged to stand and be recognized as their branches song played.

This part of the assembly makes the audience realize how all branches of the military come together for a greater cause. Mrs. Ferguson’s father served as a marine in active combat during the Korean War and it chokes her up every year. “I think of my father who was a radio operator on the front lines and it brings tears to my eyes,” she said. “It’s an emotional moment for me.”

The assembly was headlined by a speech by Alaina Ogden’s grandpa, Buddy Ray Zoll. A marine and Vietnam vet, Buddy talked about the sacrifice of those who had given their life in service. He then honored and told the story of a close family friend, Aaron Butler, a green beret who he had met during his service who had passed away in combat in Afghanistan. Following his touching speech, he led those in attendance in a singing “God Bless the U.S.A.”

The Ballroom team then wrapped up the assembly performing, “I’m Still Standing,” by Elton John. Principal Ken Rowley then closed out the assembly as he emphasized the importance of recognizing the service and sacrifice that veterans have made to allow us to enjoy the freedoms we have today.

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