All gave some and some gave all
And some stood through for the red, white and blue
And some had to fall
And if you ever think of me
Think of all your liberties and recall
Some gave all

B. Cyrus and C. Cyrus

November 11, 2010

Fourteen-year-old Bobby Belden trudged to the gymnasium of Sleepyside High School. It was ten minutes to eleven in the morning and the entire student body was expected to attend the annual Veteran’s Day program. He couldn’t understand why it was so important to have the assembly. After all, it wasn’t a real holiday. Sure, the federal office buildings were closed, and there would be no mail delivered today, but it wasn’t a Monday. It wasn’t even a Friday. It was November 11, a Thursday, and Veteran’s Day was just an obscure holiday that someone had decided to create.

As he entered the gym, he headed toward the top of the bleachers - as far away from the program as he could get. He plopped himself down in the bleachers, pulled a book out of his backpack. He was in the middle of reading Tunnels and hoped to get a few chapters read during the assembly. As he pulled out the book, he noticed that the concert band and swing choir were set up, an American Flag and a New York State Flag flanked the podium. There were several empty chairs lined up behind it.

As students continued filing into the auditorium, Bobby was joined by his friend Larry Lynch, and much to his surprise, Jenny Adams. Jenny had recently moved to Sleepyside with her mother and younger brother and was in Bobby’s math and English classes. They had worked together on a group presentation a month ago and Bobby had gotten to know her a little better. With her dark brown hair and bright blue eyes, she was pretty without being prissy or overly feminine. Secretly, Bobby had a bit of crush on her.

Feeling pleased, Bobby began reading his book, one eye on the text, the other on Jenny herself. Larry pulled a graphic novel out of his backpack and started to read it as well. They were quickly interrupted by Jenny.

“You’re not actually going to read that during the assembly, are you?” She asked in shock.

Bobby and Larry both looked at her like she had grown a horn from her head.

“Sure,” Larry replied. “I don’t see what the problem is. It’s just some assembly to remind us all that like a bazillion years ago we were at war with the world and we won. It’s not even a real holiday.”

Jenny shook her head. “You really don’t what know the significance of this day is? There’s a reason that they don’t celebrate Veteran’s Day on a Monday.”

Before Bobby could respond, Principal Stratton had entered the gymnasium, leading a group of five other adults to the empty chairs behind the podium. Bobby recognized several of the local townspeople, all dressed in some sort of military uniform. His eyes opened wider when he recognized Dan Mangan in the group. He then scanned the audience and was shocked to see six cardinal red jackets in the front row of bleachers. He didn’t need to look to know that on the back of those jackets were cross-stitched the letters “BWG.” His brothers and sister, along with their girlfriends and boyfriend, had taken time out from their hectic college schedules to attend today’s program. Next to the red coats, he spotted the distinct red hair of Bill Regan; his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler and Mr. and Mrs. Lynch were sitting behind them.

The assembly continued talking and making noise until Mr. Stratton approached the podium and called for quiet several times. He welcomed the students and the citizens of Sleepyside to the assembly and began to speak.

“At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 an armistice went into effect ending what we know today as World War I,” Mr. Stratton began. “This day is a national holiday in countries all over the world. Originally, the day was set aside to remember the soldiers who were killed in that war. After the end of World War II, the United States renamed the holiday Veterans Day and other countries renamed it Remembrance Day to honor not only those soldiers who had given their life during World War I, but in any war or conflict. I invite all of you to stand and offer a two minute moment of silence in remembrance of those who gave their lives for our freedom.”

Abosolute silence followed his request, much to Bobby’s surprise. At the conclusion of the silence, Mr. Stratton invited everyone to stand and join the band in singing the National Anthem. He reminded the students of proper flag etiquette required the removal of caps from their heads and placing their hands over their hearts. Bobby’s astonishment grew as he heard all of the students singing along with the band.

After the audience settled into their seats, Mr. Stratton approached the podium again. “Today, we have the privilege of honoring five local veterans. Each has served in a very different conflict, but each fought for one thing – Freedom. The methods they fought with have changed over the years but the reasons have not.”

A sophomore with long blond hair and blue eyes stood up from where the swing choir was and approached the podium with several pieces of paper in her hands.

“Corporal Wesley Maves served in the Army in World War II,” she began. “He landed on Normandy the day after D-Day and was assigned the task of helping to document and bury the dead on Omaha Beach. He had just turned eighteen when he was drafted into the army. He had never been outside of the State of New York until then. Many of you may have seen the movie Saving Private Ryan. Corporal Maves tells that the devastation was worse than the movie portrayed. My name is Adalyn Maves and I am proud to say that Corporal Maves is my grandfather.” As she left the podium and made her way to her grandfather, Corporal Maves stood up and saluted. She gave her grandfather a bouquet of poppies and reached up to place a kiss on his cheek. As she gave her grandfather a smart salute, the audience stood and applauded.

When Adalyn returned to her seat, another student approached the podium, having made his way down from the bleachers. It was Gordy Ferris. He glanced over his shoulder at the gentleman sitting next to Corporal Maves. Then he began, “Captain Wilbur Ferris had just completed his residency in general medicine when he was drafted into the Army in 1952. He was assigned to a Medical Army Surgical Hospital or M*A*S*H. We’ve all seen the TV show by the same name but once again real life was not anything like that. The conditions were horrible. Captain Ferris had very little experience in surgery, yet he found himself performing them for long hours on end. There was nothing normal about working in a M*A*S*H. You could spend eighteen hours in surgery and just when you thought you would be able to hit your uncomfortable cot, they would tell you to pack things up because you were on the move. My name is Gordy Ferris and I am proud to say that my grandfather is Captain Wilbur Ferris.” Gordy followed what Adalyn had done. He approached is grandfather, presented him with a bouquet of poppies, reached up to place a kiss on his cheek and then saluted him as once again the audience stood and applauded.

As Gordy Ferris returned to his seat, Conner and Lizzie Kinderman made their way to the podium. Nervously they stood side by side.

“Captain Dana Goodwin-Smith was the head nurse on a hospital ship anchored off of Vietnam in the 1960’s,” Lizzie began. “As a female Naval officer, she struggled to be treated equally and fought for the rights of not only nurses but all female officers.

“She not only nursed the wounded back to physical health, but helped them deal with the emotional turmoil of that conflict. She was instrumental in construction of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial,” Connor continued. “When soldiers returning to the United States from Vietnam were spat on and yelled at, she fought to get them the recognition they deserved. My name is Connor Kinderman and this is my sister Lizzie. We are proud to say our aunt is Major Dana Goodwin-Smith.” As Major Goodwin-Smith was presented with a bouquet of poppies, Lizzie and Connor placed a kiss on her cheek and then saluted her as the audience stood and honored her.

Justin Mundy made his way to the podium. He paused in front of the veterans briefly before he continued on to the microphone. “In January 1991, the United States declared war on Iraq. For several weeks the entire nation did something that had never happened before. They watched a war unfold in front of their eyes, on TV. Lieutenant Howard Mundy, an Air Force Academy graduate, had just received his combat wings and flew sorties over Iraq. He completed his tour of duty, receiving several honors. While a career as a commercial airline pilot may have been more lucrative, Lieutenant Mundy elected to remain in the Air Force and in six months he will retire with full military honors, having achieved the rank of Major. My name is Justin Mundy and Major Howard Mundy is my father.” Once again, the veteran received a bouquet poppies and a smart salute.

Once the program had begun, Bobby and Larry had forgotten about the books they were reading and sat mesmerized, listening to the stories that were told. Knowing the last veteran to be honored was Dan Mangan, Bobby looked around, wondering who would make the presentation. He looked toward the gym doors and saw Mr. Maypenny approach the podium dressed in an old army uniform. As he passed Dan, he placed a hand on Dan’s shoulder before continuing toward his place in front of the crowd.

“Corporal Daniel Mangan came to Sleepyside as a misguided youth. He had recently lost both of his parents but fortunately, he found a group of friends that helped steer him in the right direction. When he graduated from Sleepyside High School, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with the rest of his life and he had little money to pay for college. Corporal Mangan enlisted in the Marines at a time when the United States was fighting wars on two fronts. He has served a tour of duty in Iraq, as well as one in Afghanistan. When his enlistment is up in December, he will attend college, taking advantage of the GI Bill. I am Thomas Maypenny. I served with the US Army during the Korean conflict and I consider Corporal Dan Mangan my son.” As Mr. Maypenny made his way over to Dan there were tears of pride sparkling in his eyes. He didn’t place a kiss on his cheek but handed him a bouquet of poppies and embraced him in a bear hug whispering, “I’m proud of you, son” before saluting him. As the audience once again stood to honor a veteran, sounds of a bevy of Bob-Whites broke out from the front row. When Dan looked at his dear friends, in unison, they saluted him and he saluted back. Mr. Maypenny then made his way to the bleachers and sat down next to Bill Regan, whose eyes were also glistening with pride.

One of the members of the show choir approached the podium as several AV students set up a computer and projector. “When the show choir was asked to participate in this assembly, we discussed what song we would like to sing. We talked about singing America the Beautiful or God Bless America. Although both of those are wonderful songs, we wanted to sing something that showed our appreciation of those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom. The AV club asked students and faculty to provide them pictures of veterans. Some of them came home to raise families and some of them did not make it home. They spent a lot of time putting together this slide show acknowledging the service and sacrifice of our veterans. As the Sleepyside show choir sings All Gave Some, Some Gave All, we honor those who served.

The choir placed themselves in front of the screen as they began the opening lines of the song. They then split and moved to the side as pictures of veterans flashed on the screens. The pictures varied, some showing groups of soldiers, arms wrapped around each other’s shoulders, mugging for the camera. There were official photos of service members, pictures from boot camp, grainy photos from World War II and digital photos from Afghanistan. There were photos of flag draped coffins as they were carried into a church and pictures of Air Force jets flying in formation in a fly over. All branches of the armed forces were represented. There were pictures of the Vietnam and Korean War Memorials, as well as the World War II Memorial. As the last line of the song, “And if you think of me, think of all your liberties, and recall, some gave all,” was sung, a photo of thousands of white headstones in straight lines was shown.

It was several minutes after the song concluded before anyone said anything. Bobby looked over at Jenny and saw tears rolling down her cheeks uncontrollably. He had been affected by the program, but her grief seemed stronger. He wondered whether her tears were a result of images shown or something more personal. Impulsively, he placed an arm around her shoulder and pulled her close to him, resting her head on his shoulder.

As had been the tradition at Sleepyside High School for almost fifty years, the president of the student council concluded the assembly by reading the names of Sleepyside residents who had been killed while serving in the armed forces. The names dated back to the Revolutionary War. To date there were over two hundred names, with seven more names having been added this year alone. It took to almost thirty minutes to recite the name, date, and location of his death. No one other than the speaker said a word. The last name read was Captain Mark Adams, August 1, 2010, Bagdad, Iraq.

When Bobby heard the name, he looked over to Jenny. Despite the tears still drying on her cheeks, she stood tall and proud as the name had been read.

“Is that your uncle?” Bobby asked.

Quietly, Jenny replied, “No, that was my father. He had two days left on his tour of duty when the roadside IED exploded. Dad threw himself on top of it to save members of his troup.”

“Oh, Jenny,” he said. “I’m so sorry. I had no idea.”

“Well, it’s not something that comes up in every day conversations,” she shrugged. “It’s still hard to believe he’s gone. He was a great dad and an honorable soldier.” Her voice dropped to barely a whisper as she continued, “I miss him so much. I’d just spoken to him the day before and we had been making plans about what we were going to do as soon as he got home. All I wanted to do was spend time with him. He kept talking about taking a trip to Disney World before school started. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to go there.”

Bobby didn’t quite know what to say. Everything he could think of seemed trite or insignificant. Finally, he spoke from his heart. “I guess they’re right.” At Jenny’s questioning look, he continued. “All gave some. Each and every one of use has been affected in some way by war and violence around the world. Some, like your dad, gave all.”

Taking Jenny’s hand, Bobby along with his two friends stood at attention as a lone bugler played taps signaling all had come home.


  manure pile home  


Author Notes

First of all, a HUGE thank you to Kelly (KellyKath) and Kimberly (archergirl78) for providing a quick edit for this story. I don’t know if Kimberly had edited before but this was Kelly’s first time editing fanfic. Both did a wonderful job and this story is MUCH better because of it.

Once again Mal has come through again. She had a long weekend filled with lots of plans and yet she took time to put some graphics together. It’s like she reads my mind. I’ll tell her one thing and what she ends up with is what I really wanted.

This story is my salute to all of the veterans in the world. For some reason this Veteran’s Day meant more to me than in other years. I arrived at work and something told me a story had to be written. I had originally thought of trying to incorporate all of the cannon characters that had served in the armed forces in Jix author’s universes. When I asked for input on this and realized that there were so many characters from so many different eras it just wasn’t going to work.

Then Bobby started to talk to me and this is the result.

I tried to represent each branch of the armed forces. I missed the Coast Guard. It wasn’t meant as a slight but I was working off memories and I didn’t have anything to go on. I also wanted to represent the major conflicts/wars since WWII. I didn’t include someone from WWI because there is only one remaining veteran from WWI.

Wesley Maves was a real person. He was my father-in-law, though I never had the privilege to meet him. He was drafted into the Army during WWII and he did land on Omaha Beach the day after D-Day to do clean up. When my husband and I saw the movie Saving Private Ryan, he commented that he now understood why his father was so reluctant to talk about his experience and why he would get so upset when people would bad mouth those who served in the military.

Dana Goodwin-Smith is my salute to Dana. I didn’t want to use her real name for security reasons. Her last name is a tribute to her original screen name, GSDana. Connor and Lizzie are my salute to her adored niece and nephew. The names have been changed for the same reason.

The song “All Gave Some, Some Gave All” was recorded by Billy Ray Cyrus. It is one of my favorite patriotic country songs. The song was written by B. Cyrus and C. Cyrus. My quick internet search did not indicate who C. Cyrus is.

Finally, I want to thank every veteran that is out there. Whether you served in combat or in peace time you were willing to sacrifice it all for your country. Thank you for fighting for my freedom.

Word count, 2,654

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