Leading Edge Academy was red, white and blue Tuesday to celebrate veterans. Photo by Adam Wolfe

Leading Edge Academy in Maricopa hosted a ceremony to honor the city’s veterans Tuesday morning.

Leading Edge welcomed veterans and public officials from the community to the school to partake in a ceremony and breakfast provided by the school.

Maricopa Mayor Christian Price and Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu addressed the audience and thanked the community’s veterans for their service. Between the speeches, member of the Leading Edge Youth Choir and Percussion Band performed patriotic songs.

“Why are we here?” Sheriff Babeu asked. “Veterans Day. This is different than Memorial Day. On Memorial Day, we honor and appreciate those who died. Today, we honor and appreciate our veterans, those who have served in the military, some [who] have retired and some who still serve.”

Mayor Price, unlike the other featured speakers, did not serve in the military, but instead found his calling as a public servant. However, his message to the crowd was similar.

“Our veterans put their lives on the line for us,” Price said. “I don’t know if that’s something we often think about. These guys go out and they literally protect our country day in and day out so we have the opportunity to come here and say thank you.”

The final speech came from Air Force Staff Sgt. Lily Gonzales. Her speech regarding what the American flag meant to her offered the crowd some history on the flag, but also outlined its importance to veterans and members of the military still serving.

“Traditionally a symbol of liberty, the American flag has carried a message of freedom and inspired Americans both home and abroad,” Gonzales said. “Since 1776, no generation of Americans has been spared the responsibility of defending freedom.”

As the ceremony concluded, the students were ushered back to their classes and the veterans and parents were treated to a complimentary breakfast.

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