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November 11, 2021 

Granbury ISD students joined a community celebration for Veterans Day on November 11, 2021, in the Granbury High School auditorium. The ceremony was held in memory of local veteran and community leader J.C. Campbell. 

Highlighted during the program were the Granbury Marine Corps JROTC color guard and Granbury High School choir.  In addition to the National Anthem, the music ensemble performed patriotic pieces to open the ceremony as well as a medley of U.S. Armed Forces songs.  The JROTC presented the United States and Texas flags and also conducted a flag ritual during a recitation of “I Am The Flag.” 

The ceremony also included a wreath laying by County Judge Ron Massingill and Mayor Jim Jarratt.  Guest speaker was retired Staff Sergeant John M. Hosea, who served in the U.S. Army from 2001 until 2013. 

Granbury High School junior Anne Barnes was named the winner of an essay contest among Hood County secondary school students. 

The contest’s objective stated, “Many students think Veterans Day is simply a day to “celebrate” a day off from school. They don’t realize it is instead a ‘celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.’ The objective of this contest is to help students understand the true meaning of this day.” 

The text of Barnes’ entry follows: 

What Veterans Day Means to Me

November 11th, Veteran’s Day, is the day set aside to celebrate our military servicemembers and commemorate those who answered our nation’s need for selfless sacrifice during a conflict. I appreciate veterans’ love of our country and what we stand for as a nation. Beyond that, though, I also see Veteran’s Day as a broader chance to honor those who were not in uniform, but were also called on to sacrifice for our nation.

A parents’ first responsibility is to protect their child from harm, and that impulse does not disappear just because a child has grown into an adult. I think of the parents who stood by with pride and love, likely holding back an ocean of fear as their child left to answer the call of the nation. It must weigh heavily, the balance between pride and the irrefutable truth that all wars demand the last full measure from many. They have earned our honor and appreciation.

Then there are the spouses of veterans. People who vowed to love and cherish until parted by death, now facing that grim possibility, and having to function without their other half. The stress of keeping the home fires burning all alone must be enormous, and added to that is fear for a spouse’s safety and fear of a future alone.  The love and devotion of a spouse of a service member is tested in ways many of us will never be able to understand, and they have earned our honor and appreciation. 

For the children of a service member, the loss of daily contact with a parent is wrenching, and their new reality is filled with worry. Their protector, teacher, comforter has to leave them behind in order to keep other families safe, and that pain, even though mixed with pride, must be difficult to process. For having to live an experience at a young age that few of us can imagine, the children of service members have earned our honor and appreciation.

For extended family and friends, there is one less plate set at the holiday table, one less inside joke laughed to be shared. These friends and family, trying to push aside dark thoughts of possibly permanent losses, and instead focus on the hope of future shared occasions and opportunities, have earned our honor and appreciation.

Ultimately, it is the veteran who must deal with the other side of the coin of fear and worry. While being called on to risk their life, concerns about family, friends, spouses, children, and loved ones can never really go away. Love of country and love of family pull in different directions. Guilt, longing, fear, and worry about relationships left behind must add stress to an already herculean job. In my own family, my great-grandfather’s first marriage, hastily carried out before he was shipped across the Atlantic to fight in World War II, did not survive the years apart and the gulf of separate life experiences. When my grandfather’s brother came home from serving in Korea during the Korean War, the whole family drove day and night from East Texas to California to be joyously reunited. My great-uncle was awarded a bronze star for his service, the story of which he never shared, preferring to take that experience to the grave with him forty years later.

What Veteran’s Day means to me is that there are many people we have to thank. First, of course, the veteran, risking their life for ours. But our thanks are owed to many more, to everyone who is connected to that service member, who is making sacrifices and living with fears that the rest of us can only imagine. Thank you all.       

Other GISD campus winners in the essay competition were:  Zackary Gonzalez, Acton Middle School; Hayden Marshall-Hensiek, STARS Accelerated High School; MaKaylee Robason, Granbury Middle School. 

GISD students regularly participate in the community-organized events to honor both Veterans Day and Memorial Day.