Higley High School ceremony honors veterans - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Higley High School ceremony honors veterans

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Posted: Monday, November 10, 2008 5:54 pm | Updated: 8:40 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Higley High School students and staff honored veterans Monday with a ceremony that included a World War II Navy plane flyover, a symbolic lesson of the folding of the American flag, and keynote speaker Congressman Jeff Flake.

SLIDESHOW: High school honors veterans

Higley High School students and staff honored veterans Monday with a ceremony that included a World War II Navy plane flyover, a symbolic lesson of the folding of the American flag, and keynote speaker Congressman Jeff Flake.

SLIDESHOW: High school honors veterans

Veterans Day events parade through East Valley

East Valley Veteran's Day weekend events

American Legion Riders Post 35 and Patriot Guard Riders joined local veterans, Higley Unified School District staff and ABC 15 sports director Craig Fouhy as master of ceremonies in the school's first Veterans Day tribute.

Sophomore Alex Chamberlain, a cadet airman first class with the school's JROTC program, was among the cadets who helped in the formation of the flag raising, which started the day's event. The 15-year-old, whose cousin served in Iraq, said he "loved" the school's tribute.

"I really feel students at the school got a feel for the sacrifices of our veterans," said Chamberlain, who plans to join the Marine Corps. "I think they appreciate our freedoms more."

Video presentations, an MIA table ceremony led by veteran and Higley social studies teacher Mitch Johnson, and a JROTC cadet playing Taps on his trumpet rounded out the ceremony, which was held at the Higley Center for the Performing Arts, next to the high school.

Flake, who sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee, told stories of his visits to battlefields across the world and his harrowing C130 plane trips on visits to Iraq.

He also read an e-mail from his brother, Mike, who is serving his third deployment to Afghanistan. Mike Flake, an Air Force flight navigator, wrote about a rescue mission he went on where eight soldiers died. It was a seven-hour experience he said he'd never forget.

"I couldn't help thinking how much we owe those in the military," Jeff Flake said after reading the e-mail. "I hope we all remember those who have sacrificed for us."

Marine Corps PFC Peter M. Curtin, who served from 1942-1945, was among the veterans on the stage during the ceremony. The 88-year-old said the tribute was "beautiful, just fabulous."

"It makes young kids aware of what's going on," said Curtin, a Gilbert resident who attended the tribute with his wife of 60 years, Emily. "This has just been wonderful."

Curtin fought in the Battle of Tarawa, a battle in the Pacific Theatre of World War II in the Gilbert Islands.

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