SOLANA BEACH — On the same day the United States Marine Corps celebrated its 235th birthday, Santa Fe Christian Schools paid tribute Nov. 10 to the more than 24 million men and women who have served this country
The 13th annual Veterans Day celebration was held to “instill national pride in our students and … to say thank you for your years of service,” Headmaster Tom Bennett said to the nearly 100 area veterans and their guests who attended.
“It’s a privilege to be in the presence of those who sacrificed for our country,” Kevin Changaris, associated student body president, said in his opening remarks.
During the invocation, Marine Corps 1st Sgt. Darrell Enderlin, a Santa Fe Christian staff member, became emotional as he acknowledged those who are currently serving overseas and those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“These veterans are our heroes,” he said.
It was a special day for Navy Capt. Mike Jennings, the keynote speaker. The eldest of his seven children was returning from service in Iraq the following day, which was Veterans Day.
“We owe our freedom to those who serve with common and uncommon valor,” he said.
The millions of men and women “who have volunteered to lay it on the line halfway around the world so we have freedom and liberty back here are examples of the good that can come from war,” he said.
Jennings offered students four ways to honor veterans if they are inspired by their example.
“Make it personal,” he said. “Say thank you to a veteran for his service and tell him you appreciate what they did for this country.
Respect the flag, the symbol of our freedom. “It means a lot to us vets,” he said. “It really does.”
Jennings also encouraged students to volunteer their time and resources to the many veteran organizations and to “seek whatever opportunity you have to promote peace, prosperity and your fellow citizen.”
“It starts from the heart,” he said. “You may have to step out of your comfort zone to think of others more highly than yourself.”
Jennings said when he joined ROTC in college, it was for selfish reasons.
“I believed that if I put ‘me’ first I would get ahead,” he said. “I was way too cool and way too independent for the stuff the military was throwing at me.
“But I learned I was called to serve for the benefit of others, not myself,” he said.
The event also included songs and poems presented by students from the upper and lower schools, a veterans video produced by students Patrick Hawkey, Kyle Doan and Will Wardrip and military music by the Eagle Regiment Band.
Military Outreach Ministry was presented with pajamas collected during PJs for Pendleton Kids, a schoolwide campaign to collect sleepwear for newborns to 12-year-olds at Camp Pendleton.