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Monday, May 2, 2016

'A veteran is a veteran'

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

State representative and retired Lt. Col. Barney Fisher addresses the crowd at a Veterans Day assembly at Nevada High School on Monday. See our photo gallery for more photos.
By Lynn A. Wade

Nevada Daily Mail

"A veteran is a veteran."

So said state representative and Retired United States Marine Corps Lt. Col Barney J. Fisher, in a Veterans' Day assembly, Monday, at Nevada High School, held in honor of all veterans and their families.

"A veteran is someone who writes a blank check, made out to the American people," Fisher said. The amount is left blank -- no one knows what the cost will be. For some, it's very little. For others, the cost is their life.

Fisher said that while he was serving in the Missouri state legislature, some of its members would try to amend bills to differentiate based on rank, or on non-combat vs. combat status; but Fisher feels that's inappropriate; noting that all who serve are needed, whether they serve on the line of fire or not.

"When I was a pilot, I sat on an ejection seat -- my last chance to save my life. It was maintained by a 19-year-old lance corporal, somewhere else, out of harm's way," and appreciated greatly the service of that person. "A veteran is a veteran. Service is service," he said.

When delineating how priorities are set for Missouri's veterans homes, he said, the first priority is to those who gave more than others. "Some gave a lung. Some gave their eyes. Some gave their minds. Some have wounds that will never heal," he said; but some wanted to give another priority level to those who'd served in combat, and a third for everyone else.

Now there's still priority given to those who "gave more," but all others share the second priority level.

Fisher also took time to honor another sort of veterans -- the families, those who served on the home front, reading a poem titled "Military Mother's Prayer." The heartfelt, personal words appeared to touch the hearts of many of the veterans, who wiped their eyes of errant tears.

Fisher's address highlighted the formal ceremony, which was presented with military precision, beginning with members of the Nevada High School Junior Air Force ROTC greeting and opening doors to respectfully admit all who entered. Somber ringing of 11 bells set the stage for the ceremony, and ROTC members presented the colors for the National Anthem, played by the Nevada High School band.

Jason Yarber read a history of Veterans' Day to the crowd, students from Nevada Middle School read poems in tribute of veterans (published below) and student council representatives read a list of some of the local people who have served while the crowd listened with an air of respectful silence. The Nevada High School choir sang "The Pride of America," a compilation of the songs of each branch of military service, and members of each branch stood and were recognized with each song.

A history of "Taps" was read by ROTC member Cody Foster, and a lone trumpeter -- Bailey Jones, who's had the honor of playing the song at such assemblies for the past four years -- played the song from the wings.

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