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Veteran to CC: ‘Set aside differences’

Veteran to CC: ‘Set aside differences’

CCHS honors local veterans with keynote program, student-led documentary and luncheon

Navy SEAL veteran and Waterloo native Mike Ritland was the keynote speaker at Wednesday’s Veterans Day program in the Charles City High School gymnasium.

Ritland served as a SEAL for 12 years and three months. In his travels overseas and across the country, he said, he has come to realize that people have more in common than they do differences. These commonalities are what he urged Veterans Day audience to focus upon. Too often society allows government and politics to polarize views on the military, Ritland said. Instead, Ritland asked that those politicized views be set aside to focus on the men and women who took an oath to respond to the call to protect the nation.

“The catch phrases: ‘freedom isn’t free’ and ‘the cost of freedom,’ really think about what that means,” Ritland said. “It’s an expensive endeavor.”

Appreciating U.S. veterans is not about government decisions — it’s about acknowledging those who left their families, friends and comforts of their own home and country to ensure American values and dreams will continue to be upheld, the audience heard.

Steve McGrew’s sociology class prepared a video tribute to veterans. Roughly 20 area veterans were interviewed and quoted in a short documentary video completely compiled by the students. The tribute video can be viewed by visiting youtube.com/ charlescitycsd.

As an extra thanks to those who served, a luncheon prepared by Comet Cafe and served by the School Improvement Advisory Team was offered to all those who attended the Veterans Day program.

By Amie Johansen [email protected]

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