Officials from the Giles B. Cook Post 53 of the American Legion again hosted Front Royal’s Veterans Day ceremonies on the grounds and in the street in front of the Warren County Courthouse. The marching bands of Warren County and Skyline High Schools and Randolph Macon Academy were on hand, as well as a color guard of R-MA cadets.
The weather cooperated with sunny and balmy temperatures the day before snow flurries have been predicted for the area.
Post 53 Commander Rick Kinsey hosted the event, introducing veterans present and speakers including Marine vet and Front Royal Vice-Mayor Bill Sealock and keynote speaker John F. Kokernak, U.S. Army retired.
Tribute was paid, not only to those who have served and sacrificed, but those family members left behind to ponder whether their loved ones will ever return home.
“You know it’s a pleasure to be here because I have been at (battle site location), I have seen the poppies, I know about those kinds of things; I’ve been to the wheat field, I’ve been to Iwo Jima. I know these battlefields,” Sealock said of the respect paid to those who have served, adding, “but I sat there today thinking about things for the service I thought about the forgotten ones. The one who are left behind during the deployments and time overseas, those people, the Gold Star mothers, the spouses, the children, the family as a whole, the parents. These people are forgotten in my estimate, and I always think of those who do not return – what effect did it have on these individuals and families? For that, I welcome you to this great celebration,” Sealock concluded.
The vice mayor’s remarks echoed what makes this annual celebration that began as Armistice Day to commemorate the end of “the war to end all wars”, World War One on November 11, 1918, so special. The honor of service and sacrifice of all impacted, both on the battlefields of the world, and those waiting anxiously at home for their return; as well as the enduring desire for a peace achieved through a commitment to international justice for all nations that will make those sacrifices of war someday a less necessary part of our collective history.
Armistice Day, now Veterans Day, is traditionally celebrated at 11 a.m., November 11. That was the moment when the guns along the fronts of World War One fell silent a final time in 1918 as the Armistice to end that war was achieved.
The poppies Sealock referred to on this 101st celebration of service and an end to war come from a poem from World War One “In Flanders Fields”. The poem, often referenced at these services, was written in May 1915 by Canadian military doctor and artillery commander Major John McCrae. Its impetus is believed to have been McCrae’s conduct of the field burial service for Lieutenant Alexis Helmer in the absence of a company chaplain:
“In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
“We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
“Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.”
See Front Royal and Warren County’s celebration of Veterans Day 2019, including keynote speaker John F. Kokernak’s full remarks and the laying of the wreaths in this exclusive Royal Examiner video:
Riverton Church Symphonic Winds Christmas Concert
The Riverton Church Symphonic Winds presented their annual Christmas Concert on December 8, 2019. The Royal Examiner’s camera was their to capture the event. The Riverton Church will be hold two special Christmas Eve services. At 4 pm will be their family service and at 7 pm a candlelight service.
American Heritage Girls serve community
American Heritage Girls (AHG), a faith-based character development program for girls ages 5 to 18, is making an impact by serving in the community. Recently, the girls in Troop VA2206 served by performing a Christmas caroling program at Fox Trail Senior Living.
“Service is the practical expression of a girl’s faith,” says Patti Garibay, AHG Executive Director and Founder. “Watching girls grow in their faith and discover their God-given purpose through the development of servant hearts is the greatest achievement of AHG.”
Faith-based organizations like churches and schools and civic organizations “charter” (partner with) AHG Troops to achieve their ministry goals for youth. With an emphasis on faith, service, and fun, AHG programming includes more than 240 badges, service projects, leadership opportunities, and outdoor experiences. Troops are led by adult volunteers who facilitate the AHG Program while encouraging girl leadership.
On Thursday, December 5, Troop VA2206 took their Christmas caroling service project to Fox Trail Senior Living. Led by adult leaders Melodie Murray and Ashley Clark, the girls retold the Christmas story for Fox Trail’s residents using both song and Scriptures. While honoring their commitment to community outreach, this particular service project helped girls to develop valuable skills, such as public speaking and musical talents. Troop VA2206 will continue their commitment community service on December 14 when they lay Christmas wreaths on veteran’s graves at Winchester National Cemetery.
Skyline High School’s Environmental Science, Ecology, and Green Team loves the Earth from the bottom of their hearts
On December 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, Skyline High School’s Environmental Science, Ecology, and Green Team students were able to complete an Action Project began by their predecessors in January, thanks to the financial support of Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, Walmart, Front Royal/Warren County Anti-Litter Council, Warren County Education Endowment, and Community Participants.
The goal of their project was to raise awareness of the plastic pollution problem that we have in our waters. Students and Samuels Public Library sold organic, fair trade and GOTS certified, reusable canvas bags from Gallant International, along with a story book about an animal that suffered due to our plastic waste problem, written by Ellie Jackson. For every bag and book sold, students were able to give a bag and book to a kindergarten student in Warren County Public Schools.
Nearly 400 bags and books were distributed during the educational assemblies in which SHS students shared lessons about how the kindergarten students can reduce, reuse, and recycle in order to help our aquatic friends.
Parts of the lesson included reading “Duffy’s Lucky Escape,” signing and singing “Here to Do Our Part, Love the Earth from the Bottom of Our Heart,” a song written for this purpose (sung to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star), and the distribution of a WCPS Earth Steward sticker, coloring sheet, song lyrics, bag, and book. It was a wonderful experience for the SHS students to be able to put their learning into action… to have a change of pace, share a wholesome message, and give meaningful gifts to our community’s young Earth Stewards.
A few bag/book combos remained and were raffled off to the kindergarten teachers and aids. Ellie Jackson also donated sets of her books to Samuels Public Library and each elementary school library. Several donated sets from the author remain if you have an elementary school library that would like a set of the books.
Also remaining are a few of the organic, fair trade and GOTS certified, reusable canvas bags that Gallant International donated to the group. These bags are for sale for $20 with the proceeds being used to support the group’s current and future action projects, one of which is the Community Earth Day Celebration coming up April 18. Please, save the date! Contact Kara Lewallen for more information at email@example.com or (540) 631-0366 ext. 31131.
Valley Chorale of Front Royal Annual Christmas Concert
The Valley Chorale of Front Royal (formerly the Front Royal Oratorio Society) held it’s annual Hometown Christmas Concert Sunday afternoon, December 8th at the Front Royal Presbyterian Church. The Chorale has been bringing choral music to the northern Shenandoah Valley since 1965. As the area’s longest-established community chorus, their aim is to put great choral music at the heart of civic and community life and, in so doing, entertain, illuminate and uplift our families, friends and neighbors. The men, women and youth in their current roster of singers come from Frederick, Clarke, Warren, and Rappahannock counties.
This year the Chorale has a new Artistic Director, Dr. Ryan Keebaugh at the helm. Noted for his “energetic, expressive, concise, insightful, and sensitive” conducting (The Washington Post), Ryan’s versatile and vibrant musicianship has distinguished him as a leading music educator and conductor.
At the end on the concert two young ‘future members’ joined the chorale for the encore number. They welcomed Amanda Baldwin, age 10 and Stephanie Fultz, age 8 to join them on stage.
For more information on the Valley Choral of Front Royal visit their website at: http://valleychoraleoffrontroyal.org/
The Royal Examiner was their and shares the concert with you.
Open House! Annual Holiday Pottery, Ceramic and Art Show
On Sunday, December 8th, Explore Art & Clay at the Kiln Doctor is having their Annual Holiday Pottery, Ceramic and Art Show at 100 East 8th Street in Front Royal. The Royal Examiner stopped by on Saturday to see what was planned for the big event on Sunday, from 1pm to 5pm.
Want to shop local for the Holidays? Well that’s a fantastic idea! This is the 5th Annual Holiday Pottery, Ceramic and Art Show, showcasing all the amazing artists of the area. Art pieces range from mugs, paintings, bowls, cards, and so much more! They’ll have cider and cookies too.
Warren County Middle School gifted and talented program students showcase their projects
Warren County Middle School students in the gifted and talented program displayed their presentations for parents and friends this week during a special showcase evening. Teacher Zach Logan welcomed guests and shared a few details about the students progress so far this year. Projects ranged from the Magic of Disney to interesting facts about New Zealand with several biographies in between! Great job by all of the students! Watch this video to see a few friendly faces and hear from Mr. Logan: