A bond of sacrifice and loss


Included among the approximately 50 walkers was Vinson Middle School student Katie Beth Caudill, who serves as honorary National Central Division junior vice president of The American Legion Auxiliary. Caudill has raised more than $500 for pediatric cancer research but it was her strong stance on the American flag that caught the attention of school officials and made her American Legion Family proud.

Caudill was bothered that her school was not flying Old Glory from the school’s flag pole. Her friends at the Legion corrected the situation by donating a flag, leading Caudill to further object that the school did not take time for the Pledge of Allegiance. Refusing to take no for an answer, she led a social media campaign announcing that she would stand in front of the school every morning at 7 a.m. to say the Pledge. Other students joined in and within a week it became part of the 7:30 “morning announcements.” Now, two years later, the Pledge is a permanent part of the school’s schedule.

Caudill’s love for her flag extends to her respect for veterans.

“I decided to participate in the awareness walk because I want to show everyone that veterans are important and that everyone should be aware of who they are and what they did for our country,” Caudill said. She also added that she will make sure that her future high school displays and regularly pledges allegiance to the flag.

Caudill’s uncle, Fred Buchanan, is the past department commander for West Virginia and was a key organizer of the walk. “We have in West Virginia more veterans per capita than any other state in the nation,” Buchanan said. “The walk raised funds for our National Emergency Fund but also raises awareness and highlights the sacrifices that veterans make.”