In honor of those who serve
Henley’s Military Appreciation Night honors veterans, active-duty military members
Active duty military members and veterans acknowledged each other and shook hands as they formed a line in front of a packed house on Henley High School’s basketball court. Some wore uniforms, others wore hats, and jackets proclaiming their branch of service.
Every branch of the U.S. Armed Forces was represented – Coast Guard, Air Force, Navy, Marines, and Army –Friday night during Henley High School’s annual Military Appreciation Night. Henley started the event in 2012 as a way to honor active duty military and veterans.
Veterans and active-duty military received free admission to the Henley-Klamath Union basketball game and were recognized in a special ceremony between the varsity boys and girls games. The 60-plus cadets in Henley High School’s 931 st Air Force Junior ROTC unit unfurled a 30-by-60 foot American flag, filling the basketball court. A moment of silence followed as the more than 1,000 students, parents and community members bowed their heads in respect for those who have served and died for their country.
Henley’s Touch of Class choir, directed by student Ellie Larson, sang the national anthem, followed by the unmistakable sound of an F-15 fighter jet flyover via video on a flat-screen monitor high above the court. It is one of Henley High School Principal Jack Lee’s favorite nights of the year.
“I love being able to give a small token of appreciation to all of our current active military personnel and veterans who have sacrificed so much for our country,” he said. “If you haven’t been able to be present for the celebration when our cadets unfurl the huge flag, seeing all of the military personnel standing on the court, taking a moment of silence, then listening to the national anthem and feeling the lump of pride in your throat, you are missing out.”
The event highlights strong community support and the partnership between Henley and Kingsley Air Force Base – the 270th Air Traffic Control Squadron and 173 rd Fighter Wing. Col Jeff Edwards was the keynote speaker during halftime.
“Kingsley AFB has always gone above and beyond with the time and energy they invest, bringing their equipment and displays for our Henley community to experience during this evening,” Lee said.
This was the third year the Dorris Lions Club loaned the school its flag – which is large enough to fill the gymnasium floor. The flag was made specifically for the small town’s 200-foot tall flag pole, the tallest one west of the Rockies.
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