| "Americans have an undeniable love
for freedom," said Secretary of State Joe Manchin III, in a moving patriotic
speech delivered to the student body of Calhoun High School and several
veterans which were honored guests. Manchin was the speaker at a special
Veteran's Day assembly held Thursday afternoon, sponsored by the Student
Manchin said West Virginia has been the most patriotic state in the nation,
with more veterans per capita. "Their sacrifices to our freedoms, including
their lives, speaks louder than words."
He said for 36 days last year the presidency of the United States was
undecided. "We did not see tanks on the street or acts of violence," because
we live in a democracy.
Manchin said the torch is being passed to our newest generation from "The
Greatest Generation," referring to Tom Brokaw's book about the inspired and
dedicated survivors of the great depression and World War II. "That torch has
a light that must continue to burn," for freedom.
He said 400,000 West Virginians are not registered to vote, and many who
are, do not go to the polls. He said the ballot box is the burning light of
freedoms torch. West Virginia ranks 44th in the nation in voter participation.
Since 1986 less than 38% (average) have gone to the polls.
Manchin is sponsoring "West Virginia SHARES," in fear that many West
Virginians have lost faith in the electoral process. The SHARES program is
directed toward current voter apathy.
Part of the program is to recruit seniors, civic volunteers and veterans to
share their life experiences with West Virginia students. The program will
have mock elections return to schools and a teacher in each school will
become a Voter Registration Volunteer so every graduating student will be
registered to vote. Manchin's SHARES program is also designating six high
school seniors as registration volunteers.
Manchin announced the six seniors which will be representing Calhoun High
Six seniors representing CHS, Natalie White, Melanie Davis, Bliss
Masiarczyk, David Albaugh, Shaina Cain
Perhaps the most moving part of the program was the presentation of
certificates to World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans, after
many of them received recognition in a video presentation. Memory candles
were lit by family members for those who died for their country. Several
members of the Student Council delivered poems and readings.
Veterans from at least three wars attend assembly
All the vets were honored
The students and guests were moved by the music and voices of the school
band and chorus.
The school's chorus and band delivered outstanding music
Memorial candles lit for those who gave their lives