The rest of the room was seated. A man and a woman stood up and began waving their miniature flags as the Kuna High School band and choir performed “God Bless America.”

A few students followed suit and stood up. Shortly, everyone in attendance at the Kuna High School Veterans Day assembly was standing, some waving their flags, as “God Bless America” resonated in the gym.

The school honored local veterans Friday, Nov. 10 at its annual Veterans Day ceremony, thanking veterans for their service.

On behalf of the high school students, Savannah Stroebel, with Kuna FFA, thanked the veterans in attendance by presenting them with small flags.

“The flag symbolizes freedom, rights as Americans,” she said to the crowd of people. “These are rights we take for granted, such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

“It’s a symbol of the rights that did not come to us for free,” she concluded. “It’s a symbol of the ultimate sacrifice paid for the rights we have. … I want to express my gratitude, on behalf of Kuna High School, to you. It is because of your sacrifice that we are free."

Kuna and Melba high schools hosted events honoring veterans and their families.

Melba Junior Senior High School hosted a breakfast Thursday, Nov. 9. Students in FFA and on the student council greeted veterans and their families, later serving biscuits and gravy and other breakfast foods.

Students also organized a Black Hawk helicopter to land on the Melba softball field.

Kuna too had a Black Hawk helicopter land on school property prior to its assembly. The morning of Nov. 10, veterans and their families walked through an aisle of flags held by ROTC students. Students personally escorted veterans into the gym, where the assembly would be held.

Chief Master Sergeant Jack Cookie, a retiree of the Air Force, said during the assembly the day was honor the veteran war fighters of the United States of America in the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard.

Cookie, the guest speaker, posed the question to the audience: "Who are the men and women who fight our wars, the veterans we honor today?"

They are people who come from a variety of professions and lifestyles, he said, and cities throughout America, of course some come from Melba and Kuna.

Cookie asked what the cost of freedom was.

“It’s important to remember freedom is not cheap,” he said. “(They) served in an atmosphere that is itself a defining feature of war. Never forget, a defining feature of war is an atmosphere fraught with danger and death, never knowing when you’re coming home, all the while making us proud.”

“They gave us their lives … they gave their time," Cookie continued. "Your time is your life. Never forget that. Your time is your life.”

There were others Cookie wanted to thank: the wives of the veterans, the family members of veterans, even the Kuna High School staff and students.

“Kavemen,” Cookie said. “Thank you for remembering the cost of freedom. Thank you for standing for this great nation.”

Alx Stevens is the reporter for Kuna Melba News. Contact her at 208-922-3008 or editor@kunamelba.com.

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