While we live in the greatest country in the world, it is up to future generations to ensure it remains that way.
Palmerton Area High School students were urged to make a difference as part of a Veterans Day assembly held Thursday.
High school history teacher Michael Gombert welcomed the veterans during the assembly held inside the high school auditorium.
Lucille Rex, who represented the The Ladies Auxiliary of the R.W. Fritzinger VFW Post 7215, Walnutport, read a Veteran's Day poem tribute entitled "I Am a Veteran", by Andrea C. Brett.
Rex, who resides in Palmerton, said she believes the message contained within speaks volumes.
"It's such a wonderful thing," Rex said. "I like to spread it all over the world."
Al Kohler, petty officer, motor machinist mate second class, U.S. Navy, during World War II, told the students what they were about to hear was history.
Kohler, who currently resides in Palmerton and serves as Chaplain of the American Legion Post 269, Palmerton, told the students there were six boys in his family; five of which were in the service at the same time during World War II.
"I hope nobody has to go to war and experience what we did," Kohler said. "Liberty is not cheap."
Richard Weaver, Sr., master sergeant, U.S. Air Force, retired, who served in Vietnam, spoke of the his experience in the military.
"Overall, I think I had a fantastic military career," Weaver said. "War is war, war is never nice, war is never fun."
Weaver, who resides in Palmerton, emphasized how proud he is to live in our country.
"We've got the greatest country in the world," he said. "God bless America; it is the greatest country in the world, and we can keep it that way."
Weaver noted there are scholarships available, and encouraged students to participate in programs at their local American Legion or VFW.
Stephen Vlossak, U.S. Army, who served in Vietnam, said he takes great pride in knowing he served our country.
"This is the greatest country on earth," Vlossak said. "How we have it here is really, really good, because of the veterans that came along before me."
Earl Henning, aviation machinist, 2nd class tail gunner, B24, U.S. Navy, World War II veteran of the Pacific Theatre, thanked the school district for again allowing him to speak.
Henning said he believes our military is second to none.
"Right now, we have the best military in the world," Henning said. "The only problem the military has right now is politicians."
Henning then attempted to shift any praise to those less fortunate.
"We're not heroes," he said. "The dead ones are the heroes."
Chuck Francisco, a recruiter for the National Guard, spoke of the importance of the holiday.
"That's what Veterans Day is all about," Francisco said. "Remembering those people that went out there and did something great so that we could have a great life."
Francisco said we should never take for granted the freedoms and liberties we've been given.
"Veterans Day is recognizing the ones that had a harder time than we had," he said. "Somebody else had it rougher than we did."
After the presentations, the students were able to view various war memorabilia.