When Francis Scott Key wrote the “Star Spangled Banner” almost 200 years ago, he called America, “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” Those words are as true today as they were then.

Throughout this Nation’s history, America’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and coast guardsmen have bravely answered the call to defend our freedom, to aid our friends and allies, and to turn back aggressors. We can never fully repay our debt of gratitude to the more than 650,000 American service members who died in battle or the 1.4 million who were wounded. We can, however, recognize and thank the 25 million veterans still living today.

The quote, “Our nation honors her sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met,” is inscribed on the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Those words apply equally to many of our World War I, World War II, Vietnam War and Gulf War veterans as well. They apply to today’s active duty service members - tomorrow’s veterans – who are helping to maintain peace throughout the world.

Veterans Day, it is our privilege to say “thank you” to all of America’s veterans, to let them know that we appreciate them for their service and honor them for their sacrifices. The price of freedom is high. We cannot afford to forget those willing to pay it.

As Americans, we have set aside November 11, Veterans' Day, to reflect, remember, and honor those who have served in the United States Armed Forces. It is our sincere hope that all veterans and/or the spouses of veterans, in and around the community of St. Matthews, will join Calhoun County High School JROTC at 8:15 a.m. Friday, Nov. 10, at Calhoun County High School’s flag pole for a flag-raising ceremony in honor of Veterans Day.

The ceremony is not only open to veterans and/or the spouses of veterans, but the entire communities in and around St. Matthews who would like to attend.

Following the flag-raising ceremony, there will be a free breakfast served by the high school cafeteria staff for all veterans and/or spouses and any spouse of a veteran in the high school’s cafeteria. Breakfast will be served from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. The breakfast is sponsored by the Calhoun County Public School District, High School and JROTC Department to honor all veterans.

If there is inclement weather, we will cancel the flag-raising, but still have the breakfast. For those attending, contact either the JROTC Department, 803-655-5751, or the high school main office, 803-874-3071. This will assist us in assuring we have an appropriate amount of seating.

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