Robert E. Lee High School to honor veterans with tribute, letters

Published on Wednesday, 21 May 2014 15:58 - Written by

The visual and performing arts department at Robert E. Lee High School will present their annual military service tribute show “USO Show: Vietnam” May 29, 31, and June 1 at the Jan E. Jones Theatre on the Lee campus.

The show will honor veterans of the Vietnam War through a musical collaboration of theatre, jazz, choir, orchestra, dance and art. With each tribute show, Amy Clemens, theatre teacher and the show’s producer, incorporates a service project to help students better relate and appreciate the reason for the tribute. This year, Ms. Clemens chose Operation Gratitude, a nonprofit organization that ships care packages and letters to military troops around the world.

“Operation Gratitude is an incredible organization that not only sends letters, but has also sent more than 1 million care packages to troops,” Ms. Clemens said. “It is an organization that exists to support our active duty and veteran soldiers by lifting their spirits and providing them support.”

Lee students, along with Tyler ISD students from across the district, have written hundreds of letters so far, and Ms. Clemens expects more to come in before show time next week. Lee student, Layton Spence, says he enjoyed the project because both of his grandfathers are veterans. He wanted to tell the soldier reading his letter how much he appreciates them and that their service is important.

“Since both of my grandfathers were veterans, I personally understand what veterans do for us,” stated Spence.

Phillip White, also a Lee student, says that in his letter he wrote about whom he was, his own future military career and how all of his plans are only possible because of the sacrifices soldiers make every day.

The USO SHOW: Vietnam performance will take the audience back to the 1960s as it follows veterans before, during and after the war. Performances will be Thursday, May 29, at 7 p.m.; Saturday May 31, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday, June 1, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for seniors (age 62 and over) and students. All Vietnam veterans will be admitted FREE of charge.