HORSHAM — More than 300 students, faculty members and politicians gathered at Keith Valley Middle School to honor those who served their country Nov. 9.

The annual Veterans Day breakfast pays tribute to those who put their lives at stake to protect this country and its freedoms.

Keith Valley Assistant Principal John Ewerth welcomed attendees, as well as POWs and MIAs, and thanked veterans for their service.

During the event, words of thanks and support were offered by state Rep. Todd Stephens, R-151, and Thomas Murt, R-152.

Stephens said community events like the Keith Valley breakfast show veterans that the community is behind them and recognizes their contributions.

Murt, an Iraq War veteran, thanked Keith Valley for hosting the event, noting it is a thoughtful and meaningful gesture. He spoke of the importance of ensuring that those who served have access to resources and services that will ensure their well-being.

“These men and women risked their lives so that we could live in this democracy,” he said.

Eighth-grade student Rebecca Nyce, the winner of the Patriot’s Pen, an essay contest run through the local VFW, discussed her entry. Nyce wrote about her grandfather, a radio operator who served in Germany. He taught her the importance of respecting and honoring the American flag.

Guest speaker Marianne Bustin, a therapist with the Resiliency Center who helps veterans focus on work-life issues, also addressed the audience. Her uncle, a Korean War POW, inspired her to join the military, and she served in the Navy.

Eighth-grade American history teacher Jim Iaia, who was instrumental in organizing the event, said, “Words don’t adequately describe how meaningful this event is to veterans, including myself.”

Keith Valley secretary Julie Bardsley, who helped to coordinate the event, added, “This event means a lot to me. I have family that served in the military and they are no longer with us, but to see the students gain a better understanding of what our veterans have been through and what they mean to our country is an important piece of what we do here. “

U.S. Army Sgt. Jamion Anderson was invited by his son, a Keith Valley eighth-grade student, and said, “Becoming a soldier goes far beyond what the world knows. I love serving. This breakfast brought tears to my eyes. It is very important.”

His son, Jamion Anderson Jr., said he looks forward to the event and loves inviting his father.

“This morning has been fun, and it means a lot to me," he said. "I hear about what the soldiers have been through. They represent our country so well.”

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