ASHLAND – Along with the traditional Veterans Day program, a new flag pole was dedicated on Monday at Ashland-Greenwood Public Schools.

A program is held each year at the middle school/high school and at the elementary school. The American Legion Post 129 and VFW Post 9776 participated.

The featured speaker was Sgt. Maj. (Retired) Dennis Carroll, an Ashland resident whose children have or are attending Ashland-Greenwood Public Schools.

Carroll was born in Nuremburg, Germany in 1968 to an Army family. He had thought about being a police officer, but hadn’t dreamed of joining the military. But after enrolling in college, he turned to the military to help pay for school, enlisting in 1988.

He served in a number of capacities in the Army, most recently as a military police officer.

“After 23 years, I finally accomplished my goal of being in law enforcement,” he said.

During his military career, Carroll was deployed twice. He spent a year in Iraq in 2005-06 and a year in Panama in 1989.

He made sacrifices during his career. When he left for Iraq, his son was just one year old and didn’t know who he was when he returned a year later.

Carroll lost friends and colleagues during his time in Iraq, including Master Sgt. Trisha Jameson from Camp Ashland, who was killed by an improvised explosive device in 2005.

He had the audience raise their hands and keep them up if they knew someone who served in any of the five branches of the military. By the time he was done, nearly everyone had their hand in the air.

“It’s awesome to know that many people served our country to protect our nation,” he said.

Carroll was also impressed by the way the students stood with their hands over their hearts as the flag was presented and as they recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

“This is truly what veterans want to see when they return from war or from serving overseas,” he said.

After the Veterans Day presentation at the elementary school, the veterans and members of the second and third grade classes gathered in the cafeteria to dedicate a new flag pole. The program would have been held outside, but frigid temperatures forced it indoors. However, the flag pole was visible to the audience through the cafeteria windows.

Elementary Principal Teresa Bray said the original flag pole was donated by the American Legion in 1942, but it was worn out and needed to be replaced. The Legion and VFW stepped up to volunteer their labor to put in the new flag pole.

Boyd Yochum of Ashland, Area B vice commander for the American Legion, said the new flag and flag pole are emblems of our country.

“It’s a precious symbol of all we work for and live for,” he said.

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