Students Destinee Smith and Jared Holt perform at the NFHS Veterans Day ceremonies.

Newton Falls – The students at the Newton Falls High School gathered Friday 11-11-11 to remember and honor members of our Armed Forces past, present, and future.

Starting off the ceremony, several dozen local veterans filed into the auditorium one at a time while each of their names and branch of service was announced with every military branch represented. Masters of Ceremonies Myles Shade and Joseph Spletzer led the event, welcoming guests of the community, family and friends, and the veterans themselves, before the Civil Air Patrol Color Guard presented the colors.

The audience was led in the Pledge of Allegiance by young patriots from the elementary school before the program proceeded into an array of musical numbers, readings of poems, and video montages on the giant screen above the stage.

State Representative Sean O’Brien briefly addressed those in attendance, complimenting our Armed Forces and stating that “it is because of our military” that we have this great country that we have today. His remarks also included the well-known poem which reminds us: “It is the soldier, not the reporter, that gives us freedom of the press”.

There are 890,300 veterans in Ohio and one in particular was honored at the special ceremony. Anthony Luketic, who was a freshman at the Newton Falls High School in 1941, would have graduated with the class of 1944 but chose to serve his country instead. On Friday, the family of Anthony Luketic was called to the stage and presented with his diploma, some 67 years after his would-be graduation.

The event solemnly ended with the traditional playing of “Taps” and a folded up flag laid in an empty chair, front and center of the auditorium, silently guarded by a young member of our present Forces. May we remember all who serve, past, present, and future.