From left, Sgt. 1st Class Joe Luna and Sgt. Doug Shaw greet El Capitan Elementary students attending a rally to commemorate Veterans Day, Wednesday morning. (Mark Wilson Photo)
Seven Roswell natives who served during the Persian Gulf Wars were paid a special tribute at El Capitan Elementary School Wednesday morning. El Capitan’s Veterans Day Memorial Program remembered and honored the soldiers, who sacrificed their lives while serving during these wars, and their families.
The seven soldiers honored were Sgt. Tommy Gray, Sgt. Moses Rocha, Pfc. Ricky Salas, Spc. Brynn Naylor, Petty Officer 2nd Class Menelek Brown, Sgt. Christopher Sanders and Pfc. Antonio Stiggins.
Representatives of the Army Honor Guard, Roswell Fire Department Honor Guard and a piper from the RFD Honor Guard, were also present and participated in the event. The New Mexico Department of Veterans Affairs presented the families with a letter of remembrance, which the students delivered. Students sang and performed reenactments during the program.
Student body president, Aryka Montes, 11, a fifth-grader, addressed the gathering. “We are also giving thanks to the families who are here with us today. We want them to know that these names are more than a name on the wall. To me, and I hope to all of you, they are a hero,”
Fifth-grader Alexis Loredo, 11, said the event made her sad because it reminded her of her grandfather, who served in the Korean War.
Clint Johnson, a Title I teacher at the school, said the students who participated in the program were very professional.
“We’re really proud of them and their love of country,” he said, adding, “This is our normal Character Counts! program, so that was part of it, too. Just to build characters, remember our past history and grow in that and when they step up to their future let them be our future leaders. We appreciate them.”