Veterans, parents, students and many more gathered into the Bell High School gymnasium on Friday for the annual “Celebrate America” program. Veteran’s from all branches of the military were present and honored for their time in the service.
The program, which is presented by the music department, was opened by Superintendent Yvonne Gilliam.
“We really and genuinely appreciate your service,” said Gilliam. “Each generation since this nation was founded has stepped forward to try and leave the next generation a little more perfect.”
Gilliam said she believes the students will step forward and solve the challenges they face as they too strive to make America a more perfect union. She also pointed out the students will be inheriting a nation with a large debt and moral conflict.
During her lifetime, Gilliam said she has seen America’s freedoms diminish, especially religious freedoms.
“There has not been a single bomb dropped in Bell County, but yet we stand in fear of openly demonstrating our faith,” said Gilliam.
She spoke about how the citizens of Bell County have stood up for their freedoms in various ways.
“We’ve been told we’re not allowed to pray at ball games, we do. We’ve been told we’re not allowed to have prayer at commencement, we do,” said Gilliam.
Gilliam challenged the students to protect the freedoms that have been handed down to them by the veterans.
“Because of these veterans, you are inheriting the greatest nation that has ever existed on the face of this earth,” said Gilliam.
The guest speaker for the event was Maj. Steve Fuson. He served in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Desert Storm. He was a squad leader in the U.S. Marine Corps., a commander of the 149th infantry battalion, commander of the 149th brigade combat team and is an assistant professor of military science at the University of Pikeville.
Fuson showed gratitude to all veterans and spoke about his time overseas.
The BCHS Choirs sang several songs throughout the program including “We are America,” “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “Rock n Roll is Here to Stay,” and “God Bless the U.S.A.”
The Bell County Air Force JROTC drill team held a performance during the event as well.
Reach Anthony Cloud at 606-248-1010, ext. 208, firstname.lastname@example.org