Richard Hammond, commander of VFW Post 8855, replaces one of the desks that eighth-grade social studies teacher Nicole Williams had removed from her classroom earlier in the day at Alma Middle School on Wednesday. Williams had students in her four classes sit on the floor and tell her why they had earned the right to sit at a desk before she introduced a group of local veterans who, she explained, had earned that and other rights for them.

ALMA — Eighth-grade students at Alma Middle School on Wednesday sacrificed comfort in a class as part of one teacher’s effort to demonstrate freedom earned by area veterans.

As students walked into a class taught by social studies teacher Nicole Williams, they noticed something unusual — the room was mostly empty. All the desks had been removed.

Expressions and emotions ranged from guilt to worry to irritation and eventually just plain puzzlement. Williams instructed the students to sit up straight as they took seats on the floor. No leaning back or lying down, she said.

In each class period, Williams asked students what they had done to earn the right to have a desk. They offered all kinds of answers.

Judah Scott, 14, clad in a red shirt with “Fear the tusk” in white lettering and light blue jeans, offered his theory.

“I know why we earned the right,” he said. “Our parents pay taxes for them.”

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True, Judah, taxes are being paid by your parents to educate you but that is not the reason why you have “earned” the right to sit at a desk at school.

Our veterans have paid it all throughout our history for our freedom to live, work, go to school, speak our minds and worship according to the dictates of our own conscience.

Remember to thank a veteran this weekend.