Five years ago, Mackenzie Bradford was one of the JROTC cadets taking part in Webb City High School’s Veterans Day assembly.
This year, Sgt. Bradford was addressing the honored veterans and student body.
Upon her graduation in 2019, she enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and attended boot camp at Parris Island, S.C. She was trained as a communications systems specialist. Now she’s a communications systems instructor for new recruits at Quantico, Va.
In addition to thanking veterans for their service, she encouraged students to continue their patriotism by honoring veterans year after year.
Principal Jeff Wilkie said the assembly was a time to “pay our respects to those who have willingly served our country on our behalf.
“Many of us have family members, friends, or loved ones who have served or are currently serving in the armed forces. When I think of Veterans Day, I am reminded of my own sons, Taylor and Jake, and many others like them who have been willing to sacrifice everything so that we can live freely.”
Each year prior to the assembly, students are asked to reflect on “what Veterans Day means to me.”
Wilkie said one of the students summed up Veterans Day as “an opportunity to celebrate, appreciate and cherish the people that serve our country and ensure our freedom.”
Wilkie added that it made him think of how often he takes for granted “our freedoms and those who protect it rather then truly cherish them.”
Another student felt that it was important to keep in mind that “even though we will never understand the heartache that our veterans have been through we can take time to remember and respect how impactful their selflessness has been to all of us.”
The assembly was held Friday, Nov. 10, since Veterans Day was on Saturday.
After the ceremony, veterans and their families had a police escort past all of the schools to accept the waved appreciation of the rest of the students in the district.
Stephen Crane looks up to his dad, Stan Crane. Stan Woodmansee is in the background.
Sgt. Mackenzie Bradford (right) catches up with her former JROTC instructors, 1st. Sgt. Stephanie Attaway and Lt. Col. Dustin Elder.