That particular quotation couldn’t be more fitting for Veterans Day, since Henry is considered one of the earliest American veterans, explained Gordon Central High School’s U.S. History teacher Terry Allee.
Donning a wig and 18th-century colonial garb, Allee reenacted the “Liberty or Give me Death” in the Gordon Central gym to honor military veterans in the community.
Wednesday’s “Salute to our Hometown Heroes” ceremony was attended by all Gordon Central students and doz-ens of veterans in the community, including those who have served in the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force.
Lt. Col. John L. Throckmorton, with the U.S. Army, was the guest speaker, and is a 1992 West Point graduate, who served with the Army’s 1st Cavalry Division for 14 months in Iraq.
He addressed the crowd about the important role of veterans throughout all generations of America’s history.
“Whether in peace or at war, the important role of our veterans cannot be denied,” Throckmorton said. “They are men and women from all walks of life — some young, some old, some ordinary, some famous.”
“But they share one thing in common: a love for this great country and their own families.”
Throckmorton spoke to the crowd about the history of Veteran’s Day, mentioning a Veteran’s Day video for students to check out on YouTube.com, entitled “Troops Surprising Their Families” that pays tribute to American veterans.
“It’s a moving collection of moments recording today’s soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines coming home to their wives, kids and girlfriends,” he said.
Science teacher Vickie Duncan, narrator of the ceremony, said it’s important for students to realize that veterans have helped shape the world.
“I want students to understand the value and importance of the freedom we have,” Duncan said, after the pro-gram. “We are a cross-cultural community and it’s been all of us that have fought for the freedoms that we do have.”
A moment of silence was observed in memory of Marine Lance Cpl. Cody Warren, a GCHS graduate who was killed in Iraq.
The ceremony marked the first time Gordon Central students have paid tribute to community veterans with special musical performances, led by choral director Kim Watters, by Gordon Central’s band and chorus.
Following the hour-long ceremony, the Gordon Central cheerleaders escorted all of the veterans into the school’s mall for snacks and refreshments.
In the decades to come, Allee said he wants all of his U.S. History students to realize that there a lot of veterans out there who deserve support day in and day out.
Calhoun High School speakers echoed many of the same sentiments during their ceremony on Thursday.
State Rep. Barry Loudermilk, a veteran of the United States Air Force, spoke to the crowd about the sacrifice and honor of the American Patriot.
Reciting Patrick Henry’s plea for liberty, Loudermilk remarked, “He was setting a precedent that freedom was going to cost sacrifice.”
Among the speakers was Major Jim Coffman of the U.S. Marines Corps who recently returned from a tour in Afghanistan. His sister, Jan Lindsey, is a teacher at Calhoun High School.
Coffman recounted his experiences of his four tours during his service and the War on Terror.
Sarah Jones contributed to this report.