On Thursday, November 9, El Dorado High School (EDHS) hosted its eleventh annual Veterans Day ceremony at its Fallen Heroes Memorial on campus. Each year, the ceremony is supported by Placentia Boy Scout Troop 723, the Binnings family, and the school’s band, choral, and digital media arts programs.
The Fallen Heroes Memorial was constructed in 2013 as an Eagle Scout project by Andrew Binnings, a 2014 EDHS graduate. The Memorial is the focal point of the Veterans Day ceremony each year.
“Veterans Day came about in the United States at the end of World War I. President Wilson initially called it Armistice Day to recognize the end of the war to end all wars. Years after World War II ended, Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day to recognize the service and sacrifice of all veterans,” Principal Joey Davis shared. “Today, we especially honor the veterans who have joined us here, all the veterans of El Dorado High, and three of them in particular.”
The Memorial honors the three El Dorado graduates who sacrificed their lives defending the country – U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sergeant William Harrell (92), U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Claudio “Nene” Patiño IV (06), U.S. Army Sergeant Jason Michael Weaver (07).
This year’s ceremony included remarks from Lucas Raya, an El Dorado senior who hopes to join the United States Air Force after graduation. EDHS ASB President, Emma Kim, served as the emcee for the event, and student Blake Schalliol read a poem.
In front of the ceremony’s reflective audience, Lucas described Veterans Day as a day of remembrance: “It’s a time to remember those who are no longer with us, who gave their lives in the line of duty, and to honor their memory. It’s a time to remember the veterans who have come home, but who carry the physical and emotional scars of their service.”
He also encouraged attendees to view Veterans Day as a day of celebration. “It’s a celebration of the values that our veterans have defended – values like freedom, democracy, and the pursuit of justice,” he said. “It’s a celebration of the extraordinary dedication and selflessness that our service members exhibit when they put on the uniform, knowing they may be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice for our country.”
Master Sergeant Ward then conducted a ceremonious Veteran Roll Call. Name after name, Veterans in attendance responded to the call, until the names of the fallen Golden Hawks were announced. To commemorate the fallen, EDHS trumpeter Jack Lewis played “Taps,” the distinctive melody performed at U.S. military funerals and memorials.
Superintendent Dr. Alex Cherniss spoke briefly at the ceremony. “I myself am a son of a veteran. My father Roger Cherniss served in Vietnam,” he shared. “For our veterans, I want to thank you all for bravely doing what you were called to do, so all of us can safely do what we’re free to do…Let us never forget the sacrifices you all make for our country.”
All students and staff were able to live stream the Veterans Day ceremony in their classrooms courtesy of El Dorado’s Digital Media Arts Academy. The full ceremony is available to watch here.