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Mill Creek presents Wall of Honor, program for veterans

MADISON – Mill Creek Elementary School sixth-graders demonstrated patriotism with their first Veterans Day program on Nov. 6, along with a wall exhibit using very succinct words.

Mill Creek's Wall of Honor includes soldiers' photos and students' definitions for "America in Six Words." (CONTRIBUTED)
Mill Creek’s Wall of Honor includes soldiers’ photos and students’ definitions for “America in Six Words.” (CONTRIBUTED)

Social studies teacher Wade Thaxton said the sixth-graders invited relatives, friends and neighbors who are veterans or active in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Keynote speaker Col. Mark W. Dille retired after 28 years with the U.S. Army. Dille served as Company and Battalion Commander for the 494th and 29th Transportation Battalions; Division Transportation Officer, 101st Airborne Division; and Commander, 485th Corps Support Battalion, 129th Corps Support Battalion and 16th Corps Support Group.

Dille was deployed for Desert Shield and Desert Storm campaigns, along with duty in Bosnia.

Col. Courtney Taylor from James Clemens High School ROTC also spoke. Taylor has served 24 years in Army troop leadership, primarily as a paratrooper logistics officer.

Taylor commanded at the platoon, company, battalion and brigade levels. “He served in combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he earned the Bronze Star, and in peacekeeping operations for Sinai and Egypt,” Thaxton said.

Taylor has worked as a jumpmaster, an Army Ranger and in air assault. Taylor holds master’s degrees in both logistics management and strategic studies. He and wife Kimberly have two children: Savannah, 13, and Jackson, 12.

“We gave ribbons to all veterans. We had singers with songs from all service branches, James Clemens JROTC color guard and refreshments,” parent volunteer Kara Lingerfelt said.

For the Wall of Honor, students contributed recent and vintage photos of soldiers during World War II, Korean and Vietnam wars, War on Terror in Iraq and Bosnia.

Students were challenged to interpret “America in Six Words.” Their definitions included “Honor, Freedom, Fighter, Leader, Brave, Hero, Serve, Liberty, Presidents, Flag and America,” Lingerfelt said.

Thaxton’s classes soon will study World War I and II. “My goal is for them to gain a respect and gratitude for veterans and active Armed Force members,” Thaxton said.

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