Vets honored at Katy ISD high school with commemorative wreath laying
The threat of stormy weather did not stop more than two dozen Mayde Creek High School Naval Junior ROTC students from honoring military veterans at a commemorative wreath laying ceremony Thursday.
Lt. Travis Godwin, a Senior Naval Instructor at Mayde Creek HS and 21-year Navy veteran, spoke before the audience made up of teachers, military personnel, parents and students.
“Every military member has done his or her fair share of sacrifice,” Godwin said. “The moment that our veterans step foot on to a bus headed for boot camp or officer candidate school, they start their sacrifice. They sacrifice their own comfort and safety for something bigger than themselves.”
During the ceremony, Cadet Commanding Officer Justin Soriano, placed a wreath with a star from a decommissioned United States flag and a Naval Junior ROTC command coin near the flagpole.
Godwin called the ceremony “a visualization” of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“The significance of the service is bringing to mind those you have made the sacrifice for our freedoms and our liberties,” Godwin said. “It’s a visualization. “We can talk about sacrifices all day, but when you hear the ‘Taps,’ or when you see a wreath or when you see an honor guard like that, it’s a visual reminder of those sacrifices that everybody else has made.”
Edward Cruz, a six-year U.S. Army Veteran who served in Iraq, was in the audience. Cruz, whose daughter is a freshman at Mayde Creek HS, said he appreciated being personally invited by Principal Ronnie Edwards.
“Every time you hear that Taps, it still brings tears to my eyes,” Cruz said fighting back tears and adding that he lost friends in the war. “It’s still fresh in the memory even though it was over 15 years ago.”
Cruz said he told the principal that he felt honored to attend the high school ceremony.
“I know there is a lot of stuff out there for veterans already, but when you can truly say thank you, in the end, that’s what a veteran wants,” Cruz said. “Just a thank you. We have a made a lot sacrifice and some have paid the ultimate price. I think it goes further than most people think.”
Americans actively serving in the military make up less than one percent of the U.S. population, according to information from the U.S. Census Bureau.
“Even more staggering is that 71 percent of all Americans between the ages of 17 and 24 are ineligible for military service but the remaining 29 percent that are actually eligible for service, you can take out a large chunk of them who are just not willing to serve in the United States military,” Godwin said. “I hope this example highlights just how rare, significant and prized our veterans really are.”