WINCHESTER — At this year’s Veterans Day ceremony and breakfast at Millbrook High School, the theme was a reflective one — “We stand for those who stood for us.”
Millbrook senior Mallory Taylor, 17, said she might spend her future after high school doing just that. Over the past three years, Mallory has volunteered at the Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center, where her mother works.
“It is an honor to learn the stories of the heroes that I get to meet,” she said during the school’s annual assembly Friday morning. “I cherish every moment that I get to spend with these people.”
This volunteer work has been so valuable to Mallory that she is considering pursuing a career at a VA hospital, she said. She also has a rich extension of her family involved in the military, including her father, grandfather, two great uncles and cousin.
“We can never thank you enough for all that you’ve done for us and this country,” Mallory told the audience of veterans. “I especially thank you and look up to you due to the military being a big part of my family.”
Jerry Lunt, 78, of Berryville, who attended Friday’s events, joined the U.S. Air Force the same day former President John F. Kennedy was shot on Nov. 22, 1963. Those two events were a mere coincidence, Lunt said.
Lunt worked as a first responder in South Korea, where his base was attacked by North Koreans twice. “I saw some things. I won’t describe it to you, you’ll lose your breakfast,” Lunt said.
Lunt compares his time served in the military to completing a year of graduate school. And if he could go back to the Air Force, he would, he said.
“Our entire generation — you were either in the military or you were in jail,” he said.
Maynard Wilson, 85, of Stephens City, served in the Air Force and the National Guard for 12 years total. He spent three years patrolling the Russian border of France between 1953 and 1956 following the Korean War.
Wilson has attended Millbrook’s Veterans Day ceremony and breakfast for the past four years. “I appreciate what the veterans have done for our own country, and it’s an honor to be one of them,” Wilson said.
Mallory told The Star after the ceremony that she was able to meet several veterans during the breakfast who had served in the Korean War. She also met one veteran who showed Mallory his dog tags from his service.
As veterans left the parking lot next to the high school they were sent off by a crowd of Redbud Run Elementary School students cheering and chanting “USA!” to the cars driving by.