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Cardinals pay tribute to veterans

November 11, 2011

Staff photo/Beth Lipton: Don Dammeyer, who served from 1953 to 1955, and and Don Kramer, who served from 1961 to 1966, pose for a picture with their granddaughters, Alivia and Amelia Dammeyer.

NEW BREMEN — More than 200 area veterans were honored Friday morning at a Veterans Day assembly at New Bremen Elementary.

“As Americans, we identify today, Nov. 11, as Veteran’s Day, to reflect, remember and honor those who have served in the United States Armed Forces,” Elementary Principal Diane Kramer said. “So today we honor them and all of you for your sacrifices on our behalf.”

The program began with the presentation of the colors by Craig Francis and Adam Rhinehart of Boy Scout Troop 95, followed by  a history of Veterans Day by Makenna Brackman and the Pledge of Allegiance led by Diane Kramer. Throughout the program, each veteran was honored with a round of applause as members of the Elementary Student Council read their names and the branch of military they served in.

In a special recognition, World War II Veteran Challie Hughes was presented with his three medals by his daughter, Shirley James. James said her father signed up to join the military at 17-years-old and told her that he “left a boy and came back a man.” In the time since his service, Hughes has been unable to find the medals he was awarded, and James was able to replace them, presenting them to him at the Veterans Day assembly.

Eighth-grade students Kylie Naylor and Austin Verhoff presented a video tracking the involvement of the U.S. military overseas. Kylie highlighted World War I, the Korean War and Desert Storm.

“We remember the Korean War,” Kylie said. “The Korean War started on June 25, 1950, between North Korea and South Korea when North Korea invaded South Korea … Because of the war, over 2.5 million civilians, both North and South Koreans, were killed. In addition, there were 1 million soldiers lost their lives during the war.”

Austin spoke about World War II, the Vietnam War and Iraqi Freedom.

“We remember World War II,” Austin said. “Seventy-two years ago on Sept. 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland without warning, sparking the start of World War II … More than 50 million people lost their lives in this battle. This was the most destructive, largest and wide-spread war in history. The war was fought on land, sea and in the air.

Seventh-grade students Hanna Lane and Sophia Fox presented videos they created in honor of Sept. 11. Sixth-grade students Samantha Kuck, Emily Bertke and Isabel Rhinehart recited poems they wrote in honor of Veterans Day, and eighth-grade student Michael Molaskey recited a poem by Cheryl Dyson. Performances by the third-grade choir, directed by Mary Thornsberry, the sixth-grade band, directed by Ryan Yahl, the middle school choir, directed by Patty Ruckman, and the eighth-grade band, directed by Yahl, also dotted the program’s agenda.

Middle School Principal Howard Overman thanked the many people it took to put together the program.

“Everyone comes together and it’s quite a neat experience to show our appreciation for what you have done,” Overman said. “This is very much a group effort.”

Overman reminded students that they have freedoms because of the service of the veterans.

“It’s important students that we never take our freedoms for granted,” he said. “We get up every morning and get to do a lot of things we want to do and it’s because of the people that are sitting in front of you. So it’s very important that every day — this is why Mrs. Kramer or myself do the Pledge of Allegiance or the National Anthem every morning — to remember these people and the people that are fighting for us now. So we never, never can forget that.”

To conclude the program, Overman encouraged students to honor the veterans.

“Students, I think we have to do it, we’re going to get on our feet and we’re going to thank these people one more time,” he said.

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