(11/10/2001)
"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 Council.

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 School.

Six seniors representing CHS, Natalie White, Melanie Davis, Bliss Masiarczyk, David Albaugh, Shaina Cain
and Michael Fitzwater

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


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