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Lindbergh Elementary Hosts Young Vets for Holiday Assembly

Tech Sergeant Lonnie Bass tells elementary students why he joined the Air Force.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Tech Sergeant Lonnie Bass remembers why he joined the Air Force back in 2003:

"I wanted to travel and see the world," he said.  "I was in my early twenties.  I hadn't really been anywhere.  There was always the option of going to school.  And number one, I wanted to serve my country."

Bass tells his story to students at Linbergh Elementary School.

He's the featured speaker at their Veterans Day assembly.

"Since 2003, I've done about everything," TSgt Bass said.  "I've been to eight different countries, twenty different states within the US, two tours in Operation Enduring Freedom."

Thanks to Suddenlink, students at Lindbergh get to meet with a number of local veterans, many of them younger guys in their twenties.

Suddenlink general manager Lee Ann Smiley remembers when she was elementary age. 

She says veterans years ago were mostly older men.

"We always thought of those that are deceased more than those that are alive," Smiley said.  "We would see the tombstones and the flags being placed there.  It was a memorable time to take a moment in silence.  We still need to do that today as well; they laid the history before us.  Now we see it much more active.  It touches each one of us in some way, shape, or form."

Students are encouraged to ask questions and share their stories of veterans in their own families.

"Our work goes far beyond the basic skills of math and reading and spelling," explains Lindberg principal Dr. Julie Gaddie.  "We also want our kids to be prepared to go into communities and be leaders and have a sense of appreciation not only for their local community but for our country at large."

And even though he's seen war face to face, TSgt Bass tells the students that he is himself grateful for all the veterans who served before him.

"We really have it great when we go to war, with the computers and everything.  I can talk to my family.  More so for the older vets; they had it rough," he said.  "They were in the trenches, and didn't see their families for years, let alone months.  It's to give thanks to them and thank them for the freedoms we have."
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