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franklin county times

Soldiers let freedom ring

By By Lynette Wilson / staff writer
Dec. 5, 2002
Do you have to cut your hair? Are those medals made of real gold? Do you like your job?
These were just some of the questions Oakland Heights Elementary School students had Wednesday for Sgt. 1st Class Phillip Mosley Sr. during an hour-long program to honor veterans.
The Value of Freedom, a program to celebrate veterans, was the first of its kind for Oakland Heights. The fact that Veteran's Day was Nov. 11 didn't deter the celebration.
Marjorie Alexander, the school's lead teacher, said the idea to honor veterans came from a parent advisory committee.
Twenty-four children in blue jeans, white shirts and red, white and blue top hats reminiscent of Uncle Sam led the Pledge of Allegiance and sang the "Star Spangled Banner."
Four children gave original speeches.
Six veterans from different branches of the armed services attended the celebration.
Tom Hayden, who spent 22 years on seven ships and five duty stations in the U.S. Navy, said he thought the Oakland Heights program was a great idea.
Hayden said the military has changed a lot since he was an enlisted man. His advice to men and women now serving is to take advantage of every opportunity the military offers.
Mosely said recruiting people into the military is sometimes difficult and that it is important to remember that "freedom doesn't come free."
After his talk, Mosely said programs honoring active servicemen and women are important in Meridian because most people are not military-oriented.
Don Neece served 36 years in the military; he now is a substitute teacher, bus driver and jack-of-all-trades at Oakland Heights. When it came time for him to speak, he broke down in tears.

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