HUNTINGTON — Huntington High School hosted its 23rd annual Veterans Day celebration Monday morning with the theme Color Me America.

Veterans were welcomed by a red carpet and valet service and were offered a lunch after the program. To begin, the Huntington High School drumline and other students led the presentation of the colors.

Student council president Lindsay Murphy led the Pledge of Allegiance and Loren Lowe led “The Star-Spangled Banner.” State Rep. Trent Ashby followed, giving a welcome and thanks to veterans in attendance.

“This is one of my favorite days of the year because it gives us a chance to say thank you,” Ashby said. “Thank you to those who have sacrificed, who have served. Students, these men and women left their homes, left their families, to go fight for a belief — a belief that we all hold dear today and cherish. That belief is freedom.”

Adron Capps, Jordyn Haas, Paige Ellis, John Flood and Abbi Evett introduced the seals of the different branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, and then Danny Merrell of KICKS 105.1 recognized every veteran in attendance, citing their branch, rank and time in service.

A video tribute called “These Colors Don’t Run” was presented, and then Kelyne Arnold, Allie Endsley, Hallie Hanna, Tyler Howard and Cade Matchett gave a poetic reading called “What Color Is America?”

“What color is America?” they said. “America is red, white and blue. America — land of the free and home of the brave.

“America — red, white and blue. But America is so much more than that. America is black, gray, brown and yellow. America is purple — purple mountains majesty above the fruited plain.”

Huntington Elementary music students then performed “Wonderful World” under the direction of Kristen Williams, and the Huntington Highsteppers performed a dance in honor of the yellow ribbons that historically noted the return of a loved one from war.

“Just think of how happy people could be for a soldier, a corpsman or an airman to return home — after a long, long deployment of fighting and protecting our freedoms — and see a yellow ribbon tied around an oak tree,” Colyer Martin said as an introduction.

Then Shyler Williams sang “Navy Blue” while dancers in Navy-themed outfits performed behind her.

“To the veterans who have served, I thank you for your service, but at the same time, I’m thinking there are some other heroes out there in the auditorium,” Annabelle Ricks said. “I’m thinking about your wives and girlfriends who stayed behind while their favorite guys went off to boot camp or deployed to who-knows-where.”

They are the ones who know your Social Security number better than you do and remind you to call your moms on Mother’s Day all while holding down the homefront awaiting your return, Annabelle said.

A moment of silence was held while Huntington Middle School director of bands Jesse Albert played taps. Then high school principal Shane Stover played and sang “Dress Blues,” and Loren Lowe ended the program by performing “Color Me America.”

Grace Juarez’s email address is grace.juarez@lufkindailynews.com.

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