BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Highland Elementary held a re-dedication ceremony to honor fallen WWII soldiers from Louisiana ahead of Veterans Day.
Several community groups came together to dedicate three magnolia trees that were planted on the campus in the early 1950s.
Students were asked to participate by describing what patriotism means to them. Out of 75 essay submissions, four were chosen to be read during the ceremony.
“The flag is a symbol of our country and how far we have come to have freedom. I think of the soldiers that help save us, and I honor them,” student Makenzie McCray wrote.
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Guest speaker Bob Benedict, the current chaplain of American Legion Post 58, delivered a poignant message the students will not soon forget.
"These young children, they know what it’s like to be really cold, they may know what it’s like to be really hot, but to have to live that way - hurting with blood around, mud in trenches, mosquitoes and everything else, day after day, night after night - is misery. Their friends, their parents have undergone that misery so that they can maintain their freedom,” Benedict said.
A lot has changed since the trees went into the Earth some 65 years ago. War has evolved, but warriors pay the same price.
“It still kills, it still harms, it still denies, and these kids need to understand that it’s a terrible thing,” Benedict explained.
“I would like to thank all the veterans for fighting for and protecting our country,” student Marley Woods said during the event.
A new plaque will hang in the school’s lobby for future generations to remember the fallen soldiers.