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Out of the mouths of babes



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Michigan’s Junior Miss Poppy Kasie Jeffery, of Oxford, delivers a speech at the Memorial Day ceremony in Centennial Park. (click for larger version)
June 01, 2011 - "Thank you."

In a nutshell, that was the simple yet eloquent message delivered by 10-year-old Oxford resident Kasie Jeffery as she spoke during the town's Memorial Day ceremony in Centennial Park.

"I respectfully ask everyone here today to please, remember to thank our soldiers for protecting our freedoms and our way of life," said Jeffery, who is the American Legion Auxiliary's Junior Miss Poppy for both the 18th district and the state of Michigan.

Jeffery, who's finishing up the fifth grade at Paint Creek Elementary in Orion, delivered a passionate speech about the importance of remembering the sacrifices made by this nation's soldiers and veterans.

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"The worst feeling in the world is people have forgotten," she said. "I want all of you to know, I won't forget. I won't let others forget either. In my speeches, I remind everyone that I talk to, freedom isn't free."

From giving up normal 9-5 lives to being far from family and friends on holidays to missing countless school plays and concerts, Jeffery reminded the crowd what the life of a U.S. soldier is really like.

"Let's not forget those who have (made) the biggest sacrifice of all to keep us safe," noted Jeffery, referring to those servicemen and women who have died in battle.

Without all the soldiers who fought for this country in the past and continue to defend it today, Jeffery said, "We would not be the America that we know and love."

"We would not be able to have a peaceful public gathering such as this," she said. "We would not be able to express ourselves in the ways we choose. We may not own lawns to mow or have TVs to watch."

Jeffery urged the crowd to join her in expressing appreciation to all those who have sacrificed for our liberty and security.

"When you see a soldier or a vet, please give them a kind word, a handshake or a nod of the head – or just say thank you," she said. "After all, it is only two small words, which can mean the world to our soldiers."

Bravo.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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