By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Schools, community will honor veterans

 

Numerous activities are planned to honor veterans and military personnel during the week of Veterans Day, which officially falls on Nov. 11.

“It’s really important. They served our country and turned their lives upside down to help us,” said Maria Burke, an eighth-grader who will be one of the speakers for Duniway Middle School’s virtual Veterans Day celebration.

Both Duniway and Patton middle school in McMinnville hold events to mark Veterans Day every year — in fact, this will mark Patton’s 20th annual event. Because of COVID, no indoor assemblies are allowed, so both schools will record their celebrations and show them online.

Maria was chosen to speak because she is adept at public speaking. She also has relatives who are veterans: Her uncle is retired from the military, her grandfather served prior to the Vietnam war and her great-uncle was a prisoner of war during World War II.

She also remembers Duniway’s assembly for veterans in 2019, when she was a sixth-grader, before classes were disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. She recalled being amazed to see veterans from World War II and other wars sitting in her school’s gym.

“They were people from our own community who were brave enough to serve,” she said.

Local Veterans Day observations include:

- Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum will offer free admission to veterans all week, Nov. 8 to 14. Vets also will be offered 10% off purchases in the gift shop and online store.

A grand opening for the new Veterans’ Legacies Center is planned from 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 11. Veterans, including members of the McMinnville Band of Brothers, will be in attendance.

Evergreen’s theater will be showing “This is War” and “Shepherds of Helmand” documentaries. Times are listed on the website. The screenings are free to veterans, or $7 for other adults ($5 museum members).

- The McMinnville American Legion Vets Club on Atlantic Street will offer a free meal for veterans from 2 to 6 p.m. on Veterans Day. Bert’s Chuckwagon BBQ will prepare the food.

In addition to a free meal for veterans, dinner for non-vets and children will be available for $9.

- Patton Middle School in McMinnville has honored veterans with a special program on the holiday for 20 years. Teacher Scott Phoenix, one of several veterans who have worked at the school over the years, started the event.

Usually, dozens of veterans from World War II and more recent periods of service join sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders in the gym to listen to speeches, watch a slide show showing veterans who are relatives of students and staff members, and listen to patriotic music.

This year, with assemblies canceled because of COVID restrictions, students will watch a Zoom webinar in their classrooms at 8:30 a.m. Nov. 9. Patton Leadership students Andrew Bizon, Tayslie Morris, Anahi Elias Vargas and Natalie Morgan will present historical information. In addition, Phoenix, now retired, will be the guest speaker.

The event also will feature recorded performances from the MHS Symphonic Choir and trumpeter Joan Paddock, the traditional slide show and presentations by staff members whose parents were active duty service members.

A video of the event will be posted on the school’s YouTube channel and Instagram page.

- Duniway’s virtual assembly will include speeches by Maria and other students, a slide show and interviews with veterans, all pre-recorded. Students will watch it during their advisory classes.

Dave Holmes, who teaches the school’s leadership class, said he is reminding students not to be disappointed to be missing the live assembly, even though it was always an “incredible,” special event. Duniway is fortunate to be able to celebrate virtually.

“It’s important to keep this tradition alive,” Holmes said. “We can still honor veterans.”

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