Veterans’ Dinner reaches new milestone

By Meladi Brewer
DailyAdvocate.com

VERSAILLES — The Versailles Social Studies Department hosted its biennial Veterans’ Dinner Wednesday.

“On behalf of the Versailles students, faculty, and staff, we welcome you to this year’s program honoring veterans and active military members in our community,” Jennifer Sentman said. “Tonight, we have reached a milestone of sorts. This is our 10th dinner.”

Since 2006, the Versailles Social Studies Department has hosted the Veterans’ Dinner as a way to extend upon the lessons taught in the classroom and to teach students about honoring our veterans.

“Today there are approximately 19 million veterans, and around Veterans Day we honor their solemn pledge to defend our freedoms. We thank them for their service and sacrifice and pledge to uphold their legacy by teaching younger generations about their role in securing their blessing of liberty,” Sentman said.

Students in elementary school provided artwork in the back of the cafetorium representing the veterans’ hard work and patriotism while members of Tiger Tunes and Tiger Choir provided musical entertainment before dinner was served. Dinner this evening was catered by Mary Barhorst from Al’s Place in Fort Loramie.

“As you have entered the room, you may have noticed a special table in the middle. It is here to honor our missing men and women,” said John Jackson, United States Marine and teacher at Versailles Schools.

The Missing Man Table, or Fallen Comrade Table, is steeped in symbolism and is featured in solemn ceremonies that fallen, missing, or imprisoned U.S. military members are remembered. Each item on the Missing Man Table represents the emotions and feelings reserved for those who did not come home.

“As stated by Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States, ‘our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our great country can never be repaid,’” Sentman said.

“Let us pray to the supreme commander that all of our comrades will soon be back within our ranks. Let us remember and never forget their sacrifices,” Jackson said.

“It is with sincere appreciation for the service of our veterans and active military that we have organized tonight’s program,” Sentman added.

As a special treat, the Quilts of Valor Foundation awarded a Quilt of Valor to one of Versailles Schools very own, John Jackson. The mission of the foundation is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.

“The award is a once in a lifetime award, and we are pleased to present this one to John F. Jackson who served in the U.S. Marine Corps. The Quilt of Valor foundation wishes to recognize you for your service to our nation and to your community,” the representative from the foundation said.

A Quilt of Valor is a handmade quilt made to thank veterans for their service and sacrifice in serving our nation. The sacrifices made by past and present military members do not go unnoticed, and like the Quilt of Valor Foundation, the Versailles Social Studies Department recognizes and thanks those who have sacrificed themselves for the freedoms they have today.

Concluding the dinner, guests were invited to the theater to enjoy the melodic entertainment provided by The Miami-Shelby Melodymen Chorus, a barbershop chorus from Piqua.

The Versailles Social Studies Department would like to extend a sincere thank you to all the volunteers and sponsors who have graciously made donations in order to make the dinner a reality. Without the community’s help, the program would not have happened.

To find out more about the Quilts of Valor visit https://www.qovf.org/. To learn more or join The Miami-Shelby Melodymen Chorus visit the group’s Facebook page at Melody Men Chorus or visit the website at http://melodymenchorus.org/.

To contact Daily Advocate Reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected]