Walk for Freedom

Freedom Walk
5th-grade students participated in the 2019 Freedom Walk.

The heritage of our flag and the soldiers, sailors, and airmen who have served our nation was the educational purpose of a two-day event for fifth-grade students from Spanish Fork and Salem. The Walk for Freedom event was organized by American Legion Post 68 and has become an annual event. The Nebo School District has about 1,200 fifth grade students in 13 elementary schools that were bussed to the Spanish Fork Sports Park on May 7 and 8. The walk, carried out by class groups with teacher escorts, visited seven stations and was a little over a mile walk. The stations were staffed by veterans representing historical events. One station was the Freedom Wall which was a collection of stories and pictures that students researched on individual veterans. The walk was described as a walk for life, a walk for patriotism, and a walk for the freedom we all enjoy. The event was a wonderful prelude to Memorial Day.

Mark McKell and Steve Wilson being introduced to a group of 5th grade students. Photo: Ed Helmick

Each student received a “dog Tag” and tee shirt donated by the Doug Ford Family. The opening ceremony was the bugle call and traditional raising of the flag. One purpose of the program is to remember and honor our veterans and to interact with some local heroes who have served. Special this year was 100-year old Mark A. McKell in his WWII uniform. This amazing man takes a walk every morning and evening to stay in shape. And yes, he had stories to tell. The importance of a soldier was given by quoting the writing of Charles M. Province. 

            It is the Soldier, not the minister who has given us freedom of religion.

            It is the Soldier, not the reporter who has given us freedom of the press.

            It is the Soldier, not the poet who has given us freedom of speech.

            It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer who has given us freedom to protest.

            It is the Soldier, not the lawyer who has given us the right to a free trial.

            It is the Soldier, not the politician who has given us the right to vote.

           It is the Soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protesters to burn the flag.

The closing ceremony was the playing of taps symbolic of honoring a military veteran who has passed away. The students then returned to their school buses with an appreciation for our nation’s military and our nation’s flag. Our community needs to give thanks to the American Legion Post 68 and the Nebo School District for this wonderful patriotic event for our young people.