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      Evans Middle School Honors Veterans with Assembly

      Flags were flown, military anthems blared, and a sense of patriotism lingered in the air as Evans Middle School honored veterans from Ottumwa who were in attendance.

      Captain Randall Stanford of the 224th Engineer Battalion in Fairfield was the featured speaker at the event. He stressed the importance of education and preached about military values to the students.

      Stanford noted that being in the military is an exclusive club--less than one percent of the population is involved in the military--and urged the students to exercise freedoms that those in that club have fought so hard to provide.

      Stanford said it is in honor to be able to speak to students on the day that means so much to him.

      "Today I touched on army values and values in general because Evans Middle School has values they try to live by, and I try to send the message that any of these values are kind of a common core that bring people together and can make you successful--not just in school but life in general," said Stanford.

      Floyd J. Dickerson, an Ottumwa World War II veteran, was presented with an honorary diploma during the presentation. Dickerson was drafted in 1943 during his junior year in high school and chose to serve his country rather than finish high school.

      His message upon receiving the award was brief but powerful and fitting on this day. "God bless America" Dickerson proclaimed as the audience gave him a standing ovation.

      Dickerson said being in the military presented him with many valuable life lessons.

      "Discipline--I think that didn't hurt anybody to have discipline," said Dickerson.