Chambers Academy honors veterans with program

Published 8:00 am Thursday, November 11, 2021

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On Wednesday, the gym at Chambers Academy was full of visitors, students, staff, and military veterans gathered for the school’s annual Veterans Day program. Students from various grades gave various patriotic performances, and retired Marine Paul Granger was the guest speaker.

At the beginning of the program, grades K4 and K5 led the pledge of allegiance, Senior President Natalie Lovelace led the invocation, and SGA President Lauren Fuller sang the national anthem.

Before other grades performed, Abigail Dempsey performed “If You’re Reading This” by Tim McGraw in sign language.

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First graders sang “The Poppy Song,” a song thanking veterans for their service. Second graders spoke a Veterans Day poem in unison. Third graders did patriotic readings before singing the preamble, and fourth graders spoke a tribute to veterans, holding up signs that spelled out “Veterans Day.” Fifth graders took turns explaining the branches of military service, and sixth graders took turns explaining the American flag. Grades K5 through six sang “You’re a Grand Old Flag while waiving hand-held American flags.

At the beginning of his speech, Granger said he joined the Marine Corps when he was 19.

“My services started in 1992 to 1995,” he said. “I was stationed up in Northern Virginia at the Pentagon, where I joined a special team there, and I went from there down to Quantico, and then I was stationed overseas in Okinawa, Japan.”

He announced that it was the Marine Corps’ birthday, established on Nov. 10, 1775, in Philadelphia. He reviewed a series of wars the Marine Corps had been involved in.

“The one that really stands out to me and one that I really like, where we got our name, “Devil Dogs,” was in France, 1918 at the Battle of Belleau Wood,” he said. “It was one of the most brutal battles fought by American forces in WWI.”

Granger said that U.S. Marines advanced against German machine gun fire during the battle, suffering heavy casualties.

“First Sergeant Dan Daly, a legendary two-time Marines honor recipient, famously shouted to his guys, ‘Come on, you ‘something.’ You can’t live forever.’ … It was during this famous battle that Marines showed the world that they were a formidable force willing to accept nothing less than victory.”

Granger said German officers called the Marines “Teufel Hunden,” which means “Devil Dogs.”

Granger emphasized the Marine Corps motto, “Semper Fidelis,” Latin for “always faithful.” He said it was because the military faithfully served the United States that Americans get to continue their way of life.

“So I’ll leave you with this — Semper Fi to each and every one of you,” he said. “Always faithful. Be faithful to your god, to your family, and to your country.”