WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Some Wichita Falls I.S.D. students spent part of their Friday morning celebrating and remembering our nation's veterans.
The event was filled with smiles and tears. To many, it's bigger than just serving.
"I know it's a happy time in honoring, but we left a lot of them behind," Vietnam Veteran, Joel Jimenez said. "And they are the true heroes. Sometimes we have to honor them on this special day also because they gave the ultimate sacrifice."
"We must never take them for granted," Brigadier General, Ronald Jolly said. "If we do, we will place our freedom and our way of life in jeopardy."
Jared Pierce is a Commander of the Hirschi J.R.O.T.C. He said it's prepared him for what lies ahead.
"It's taught me leadership, responsibility, and everything I need to know to go into this world and after high school, college, and everything else in life," Pierce said.
"If you look around at these young men and women in the J.R.O.T.C., they are our future," Jimenez said. "They're the ones that are going to be the protectors of our country."
No matter how old or young, the message is the same.
"Today I want to say thank you to each and every one of the veterans here," Brigadier General Jolly said.
"Make it a point to just say thank you and welcome our veterans," Jimenez said. "We love you. Just thank a veteran for what he and she did."
"Honor them because they don't always get the recognition they deserve because we have all of our freedoms," Pierce said. "But they're the reason we have those."
Brigadier General Jolly said there is another group that serves, and that's the families. He said the sacrifices of the spouses, children, and grandparents are every bit as real, and often much greater than those of the veterans we love.
Hirschi graduate Steven Cantrell was also honored for his service on Friday. Cantrell died in August after an Army helicopter crash off the coast of Hawaii.