This is an opinion article.

Every Veterans Day I beam with pride after witnessing what wonderful tributes our community presents to our nation’s heroes.

Through teary eyes and a swelling heart, I was able to enjoy Boaz High School’s annual program Thursday.

Boaz native Carl Cofield delivered a touching tribute to honor the life of his best friend, the late Kenneth Lasseter.

Lasseter was a 1966 graduate of Boaz High School and played basketball for Snead State Community College.

He was drafted by the U.S. Military to serve in the Vietnam War as a sergeant in the 101st Airborne Division, 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry, C Company. Unfortunately, he was killed during combat.

When I heard Cofield speak of how much Lasseter meant to him and listened to him revisit memories of old, I couldn’t help but to get emotional.

Can you imagine losing your best friend, son, daughter, father, mother, husband or wife? Many people don’t imagine — they live it, and it is truly heartbreaking.

But that is the price of freedom, and it should never be taken for granted, as former Boaz High School Principal Lowell Smith told the student body following Cofield’s address. Smith was a member of the U.S. Air Force. Before becoming a Pirate, Smith was principal of Douglas High School.

Speaking of my Eagles, I wasn’t able to attend this year’s program, but the school held its 27th annual Veterans Day Celebration on Friday.

I’m a graduate of Douglas High School and have been a part of the program, so my next statement may come off as biased, but I promise it isn’t. There is no other place that does a Veterans Day program better than Douglas High School and choral instructor Becky “BWOK” Walker.

A program was also held at Albertville Middle School this week. Former Marshall County Commissioner Jesse Swords was honored. He served during the Vietnam War and is a two-time Purple Heart recipient.

More about the high schools’ programs will be featured in Tuesday’s edition of The Reporter. There are other schools that hosted similar Veterans Day programs, but because our staff is smaller in number, we aren’t able to attend each one.

In an age where people seem to always be up in arms about what should or should not take place in schools, I’m proud to see our community’s schools standing at the forefront and taking pride in honoring our nation’s veterans.

There’s great value in recognizing veterans, but you won’t see that on any state report card results.

Taylor Beck is managing editor for The Reporter. He can be reached at taylor.beck@sandmountainreporter.com.

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