By Danielle Smith
Leader Staff Writer
Patriotism was flowing throughout the Oxford High School Performing Arts Center last Friday as the Oxford Middle School Choirs hosted their 17th Annual Americana Concert.
Approximately 200 students, spanning sixth through eighth grade, along with The Macombers, a choral group from Macomb Community College, performed patriotic tunes for a full house of veterans, their families and community members.
The North Oakland County Young Marines Color Guard kicked off the program by presenting and posting the colors of our nation that led to the singing of the National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance.
One of many songs sung was an armed forces medley. Each veteran was invited to stand when their respective song was sung, allowing audience members to applaud and honor their service.
Among those in attendance was a silver and bronze star recipient, a World War II veteran as well as veterans spanning from the Korean War to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Delivering a Veteran’s Day message was Father John A. Maksym, associate pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Lake Orion and retired Navy Commander with the Judge Advocate General’s Council (JAGC).
Maksym shared a few stories from his time overseas that garnered chuckles as well as a somber silence before
getting to the heart of his message.
“Wearing the cloth of your country is an incredibly wonderful privilege because every time you put it on in the morning, you remind yourself of how unworthy of it you are. How it represents (all) Americans. How each one of us has to remember the tens of thousands of stones around the world with men and womens’ names engraved on them who have shed their blood for our flag. That uniform represents them,” he said. “When your nation needs you, I have no doubt that your generation will do what their generations did (pointing to the veterans in the audience). You will look at your flag, you will understand the concept of freedom and democracy, free speech, the right to a jury trial, the right to not to live in an abusive environment, and you will answer the call.”
“I have seen victory and I have seen glory, I have witnessed cowardice and I have witnessed heroism…I have seen greatness in America and I have seen the tyranny and the horror of terrorism…I have seen our nation when we put our resources together and we can do anything, and all of it can be good,” Maksym said.