By Barbara Rowley

BIG SKY – Growing up in Big Sky, it’s easy for kids to take the freedom they enjoy for granted. That’s why District Superintendent Jerry House, an army veteran, decided a Veterans Day program to both honor local military and educate students was in order.

The all-school assembly program, to be held at the school on Friday, Nov. 9 in the gymnasium, will begin at 1 p.m. Veterans and their families are encouraged to arrive anytime after 12:30, when students will seat them in places of honor.

“Our kids are calling up all the veterans and their families in Big Sky,” House said. “We are hoping as many former members of our armed forces are there as possible, and we are encouraging them to wear their uniforms.”

All interested members of the community are also invited and encouraged to attend.

Colonel Dick Fast will give the keynote address during the hour-long assembly, which will also feature high school, middle school and elementary school students in pivotal roles, giving speeches they’ve written, presenting slide shows and participating in a flag ceremony. Junior Anna Middleton will give the introductory speech; Senior Grayson Bell will close the ceremony.

“Our students are certainly taught our nation’s military history,” House said. “But it is important for them to see that history lives on, and the results of that history are our great gifts of freedom today.” He hopes the student presentations and military presence will help our nation’s military history come alive for district students and inspire reflection and patriotism on Veterans Day.

“In the light of the recent shooting of 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai, who was shot simply for trying to attend school and encourage other Pakistani girls to do the same, I hope our students see just how lucky they are to live in the United States, and appreciate the people who protect our freedoms,” House said.