Thompson High School honors veterans

Published 4:23 pm Friday, November 9, 2018

By Michael Brooks / Special to the Reporter

ALABASTER – Thompson High School honored area veterans on Friday morning with a program of patriotism and remembrance. Principal Dr. Wesley Hester noted that the system had five similar programs this week and said that the sixth is the “last and the best one” at Thompson.

Hester welcomed guests, including Alabaster City Schools Superintendent Dr. L. Wayne Vickers and a host of area veterans.

“We honor your sacrifice today and in this small way say ‘thank you’ for your service and sacrifice,” he said. “All who grew up in this country are blessed with freedom, and we need to thank our veterans every day.”

Lt. Col. Doug Crabb, in his sixth year as director of the Air Force Jr. ROTC program at Thompson, also welcomed veterans and their families. He asked all veterans to stand along with every attendee who had a veteran in their families. More than half of the crowd stood.

“We’ve all been touched by the heroes among us,” Crabb said. “Our Constitution written some 230 years ago promised us freedom, but our freedom is maintained by our veterans.”

The program featured patriotic medleys from the Thompsons Wind Ensemble directed by Jon Bubbett and the Madrigals choral group directed by Natalie Allen. The Table of Remembrance narration honoring POWs and MIAs (missing in action) was provided by ROTC cadet Bayley Cosby.

Veteran William McCaig of Montevallo attended the event, noting he had a nephew at Thompson.

“The ROTC program here is one of the best in Alabama,” he said.

Private First Class McCaig served in the U.S. Army from 1972-1974.

“I came today to honor real heroes,” he said. “This is a really big event for me. I think our community does a good job honoring our vets. Everybody is busy today, but we need to take time to honor their sacrifice.”

McCaig said he was en route to Vietnam when he sustained an injury putting him in the hospital for three months. He completed his service stateside, but his brother served in Vietnam.

“It was different back then,” he said. “There was a misunderstanding about the casualties of war. Of course there were civilian casualties—all wars have this and war hurts everybody. I think this was one reason for the strong anti-war movement. But the men I knew said they did all they could to prevent innocent people getting hurt.”

McCaig said Vietnam War vets often returned home and faced hostility.

“I was quiet about my service when I first came home because of antiwar feeling,” he said. “But now I think we’ve learned more about honoring men and women in uniform.”

Hester challenged Thompson students as the program concluded to learn from the assembled veterans.

“We must avoid a world of selfishness,” he said. “Don’t fall into the victim mentality believing it’s all about you. Follow the veteran mentality of sacrifice and service.”

Following the program all veterans were invited to remain for a complimentary breakfast at the school.