Seymour Middle School honors veterans


Ronald Barger said he always looks forward to attending Veterans Day programs each school year.

On Friday, the Seymour Middle School eighth grader said he found the school’s program inspiring.

“I loved it,” he said, waiting to be dismissed back to class. “I’ve always thought about going into either the Army or the Navy.”

Serving the country is something everyone should consider, he said, because so many have made sacrifices for others.

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“Without any of those people, we wouldn’t have freedom,” he said.

Students, teachers, staff and the public had an opportunity to hear from someone who made sacrifices for our country during the school’s annual Veterans Day program on Friday.

Retired Capt. Scott Shishman of Bloomington attended the convocation to share his experience serving in the U.S. Army Reserve. He is the president of Old National Bank.

The students submitted a variety of questions to ask Shishman including why he decided to serve, whether he had family in the military, challenges of serving and more. The program also included music, singing and the recognition of local veterans.

Shishman said he decided to join the reserves because he was from New Mexico and had  been accepted into the University of Notre Dame. His parents told him they could not afford to send him to the private school, so he received a scholarship by serving in the military.

But serving gave him much more than a quality education.

“It provided leadership training, camaraderie and it was a way to give back to my country,” he said.

Shishman joined the reserves after he graduated in 1988.

He said his father also inspired him because he joined the ROTC even before he was a United States citizen after he came over from Hungary in 1951.

“He saw what Communism was like,” he told the students. “He was a freshman in college when he became a U.S. citizen and they gave him a uniform. He was so proud to be a United States citizen and became an officer.”

When asked why the military was so vital to the country, Shishman had a pretty simple answer.

“We live in a country that allows you to be free, we live in a country where you can choose what you want to do and you can speak your mind,” he said. “This place is unbelievable.”

Shishman said those freedoms did not come by accident, but were provided because of others who chose to serve and defend freedom.

There have been times when freedom has been challenged such when Pearl Harbor was attacked on Dec. 7, 1941.

“There were people there to defend it,” he said.

Principal Danny Mendez said he was proud to hear that Barger had given thought to serving in the military when he becomes an adult.

“Servant leadership is powerful and necessary in our world and to know our kids might aspire to that, that just makes us really proud,” he said.

Mendez said it was important to honor veterans and for students to understand service and sacrifice.

“Sometimes as a middle schooler, that’s not always on their mind, but this is a way to start doing that,” he said. “I think everyone took it serious.”

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