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Mustang Trails Elementary students honor veterans

Brandon Owens stands with his daughters at the conclusion of an assembly honoring veterans at Mustang Trails Elementary School. Photo / Larissa Copeland

While sleet and icy rain pummeled the roof and walls of Mustang Trails Elementary School, the students sat and listened, with rapt attention, of the sacrifices made for their freedoms.
Monday, teachers, students and guests presented songs, information and testimony to honor veterans and educate each other about members of the United States Armed Forces.
The assembly included a presentation from a special guest – United States Army veteran Brandon Owens, a Union City police sergeant and former Canadian County
Owens told students about life away from family — how his daughters passed milestones like learning to walk and talk without him there to celebrate them.
Owens has twice served overseas. In 2007, he served a tour of duty in Iraq. In 2011, he was deployed to Afghanistan.
Owens brought a “daddy doll” to show students, explaining that these dolls are printed with soldiers’ faces and given to children whose parents are deployed.
“When I got back, I was a stranger,” Owens said. “When I got home, I had to re-integrate so my kids would know me.”
During his presentation, Owens stressed how important it was for the students listening to appreciate their opportunities to receive an education.
In Afghanistan, he said, he knew children who begged for pens and paper to use for their classes, held twice a week.
“(Veterans) give everything to their nation so you can go to school, and so you can stand for the flag,” he said.
Owens also talked about honoring, respecting and remembering veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice and never returned home.
He showed photos of friends killed in action, and told the students that those soldiers, too, had families and children back home.
“Never forget those who gave it all,” he said.

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