More than 20 local veterans filed into the gymnasium of Tehachapi High School, hailed with applause by students and staff, who gathered on Friday, Nov. 8, to pay homage to local servicemen and servicewomen in the school's sixth annual Veteran's Day Assembly.
ASB President Eppler welcomed the students and their guests, before a presentation of the colors by members of the U.S. Army Color Guard and a singing of the national anthem by student Ashley Bishop.
Principal Scott Heitman then welcomed the veterans with a quote from President Harry S. Truman.
"America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and an unbeatable determination to do the task at hand," he said.
Following Principal Heitman's introductions, Lieutenant Colonel Chad Livingston, who has served in the Army since 1994, took the podium as the keynote speaker. Lieutenant Livingston served a 12-month deployment in Afghanistan, led a platoon in Haiti during Operation Uphold Democracy, and served as Headquarters Company Commander in Izmir, Turkey.
Aside from praising the courage of the veterans present at the assembly, Lieutenant Livingston touched on a number of issues, including the fact that America has the largest of population of young veterans since the Vietnam War.
Among those being honored was Rodger Rolin, who served in the Army for 20 years. Rolin currently lives with in Brite Valley with his wife, who he met when during one of his four tours in Germany. Rolin also served two tours in Korea and one in Vietnam, and has been the post commander for three different VFW and American Legion organizations.
This was his second year attending the assembly.
"I really enjoy it," he said. "I love talking to these young men and women."
Also present was Bob Mayberry, who served in the Navy from 1964 to 1968 in the Vietnam War. His grandson, Brandon Smith, is a senior at THS and found out the night before the assembly that his grandfather was among those being honored.
Lieutenant Colonel Chris Hood, who is currently a business teacher at THS was also recognized during the assembly. Hood served for more than 23 years in the reserves as a member of the U.S. Army.
Leading up to the assembly, students raised close to $3,000 in a school-wide fundraiser to send two local World War II veterans to Washington, D.C. through the Honor Flight Network, an organization dedicated to sending vets to the National World War II Memorial.
THS's gymnasium was adorned in balloons, hand-painted posters, as well as a three-dimensional rendition of the "Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima" icon constructed by Associate Student Body member Austin Miller.