Mansfield ISD Magazine Winter 2019/2020 | Page 22

STATE SENATOR VISITS MISD FOR VETERANS DAY EVENT “ Children need to realize that what we have here is freedom, and it’s not free. GRACIE NELSON VETERAN AND SECRETARY “My favorite part was when they all came in, and they were so proud, and we started singing the song,” said fourth-grader Dema Mohammed. State Sen. Birdwell explains how the 9/11 attack at The Pentagon affected him. W ith a crowd wearing patriotic colors adorned with paper hats that said “thank you” on them, the ceremony to honor the brave men and women who served our country was ready to begin. Students and staff members at Charlotte Anderson Elementary School invited the military veterans in their lives to attend their Veterans Day celebration event on Nov. 8. Boy scouts presented the colors, the choir sang, and the guests of honor watched as one of their fellow servicemen spoke about his experience in active duty. “It doesn’t matter where you are on the battlefield,” said State. Sen. Brian Birdwell, who represents District 22 and served in the U.S. Army. “It’s that you raised your right hand, said, ‘I’ll support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies’—foreign and domestic—and that you’re prepared to potentially not just give a limb, not just give an eye, but possibly give your life in defense of the freedoms that we enjoy in this country.” Birdwell is a 9/11 survivor. He was working at the Pentagon 18 years 22 MANSFIELDTODAY ago when a hijacked plane crashed into the building. He said he was 15 to 20 yards away from where the nose of flight 77 penetrated. The state representative spent years recovering from his severe burns and injuries. He earned a Purple Heart for the wounds he received that day. “We have an obligation to support parents and teach those young men and women to appreciate the sacrifice of those who are serving them, and that’s why it was so important to be here today,” he said. Anderson Elementary students said showing their appreciation made them feel good because they could sense the feeling of pride it gave to the veterans. Gracie Nelson, the principal’s secretary, served in the Texas National Guard for 12 years. She said that although she likes to remain behind the scenes, she appreciates the tokens of gratitude. She also uses the day to help others realize the significance of military veterans. “Children need to realize that what we have here is freedom, and it’s not free,” said Nelson. “There are people out there right now; and if it wasn’t for all those in the past who have gone before us, we wouldn’t be here right now.” Veterans Day is a federal holiday observed annually on Nov. 11 to honor people who served in the United States Armed Forces. Mansfield ISD schools and offices were closed in honor of the observance. However, several MISD campuses held special breakfasts, programs and events to honor military veterans. Veterans Day programs like this one teach kids what it means to serve others.