My husband and I attended the annual Veterans Day program held at Cullowhee Valley School.

I, being just one veteran’s wife, have attended many events in my day, but I can’t recall having ever being treated with such care and respect from a group of people, let alone young people. The kindness started with our being served breakfast with our family members who attend school there. We were escorted to our tables by some very attentive young people, every one with a “Thank you for your service.”

In a day where hate and anger are freely expressed, (even in public), it was a true oasis to walk into that gym and feel the pride and respect given. There were no Democrats or Republicans, no angry mobs, just proud Americans, as my grandson says, “just good citizens.” No one took a knee at the playing of the national anthem, and every heart was crossed for the pledge. There was not one complaint when everyone repeated, “one nation under God.” There was no laughing or cutting-up during the flag folding ceremony. You could have heard a pin drop during the playing of the bells in honor of lives lost and forever changed in World War I. I was so proud to be there in that moment of time to see my three grandchildren shedding tears for those who served and those who paid the ultimate price for their freedom.

I can sum it up in one word: “respect.” It is an action that is practiced very little these days. It is evident, to me, that respect is taught by example and disrespect is a learned action too.

Cullowhee Valley, I want to personally thank you, staff, students and all involved for a wonderful, thoughtful and respectful Veterans Day program. You have restored my faith for the future of our youth. You could teach this whole country a long-forgotten lesson, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Pro. 22:6). Keep up the good work.

Vonda Ward,

Cullowhee