11/14/2012 10:06:00 AM Fillmore Central observes Veteran's Day with Preston, Harmony servicemen
The color guard from the Harmony American Legion advanced the colors during the Veteran's Day Program on Monday. From left are Carroll Gossman, Larry Torgerson and Allan Christianson.
By Lori Slindee
Veterans Day was celebrated in Harmony on Monday, Nov. 12, with a ceremony at the Fillmore Central High School (FCHS). A goodly number of community members joined the assembled seventh through 12th grade students to honor servicemen and servicewomen, past and present.
Ron Scheevel of Preston served as master of ceremonies and as the guest speaker for the annual assembly. The event started as a combined color guard of Legionnaires from Preston, Fountain and Harmony solemnly presented the colors while being accompanied by the drum line of the FCHS band. This was followed by a robust performance of the National Anthem by the full band and the voices of all in attendance.
Following the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, Scheevel led the assembly in remembrance of veterans and their sacrifices. Local World War II veterans of Harmony and Preston were honored with a reading of their names. These included Loren Applen, Manville Bates, Loyal Brusse, Ed Hahms, Oliver Halverson, Mel Mikkelson, Dean Morem, Wilbur Peterson, Leonard Skaalen, Don Wilkins, Adrian Knox, Amos Anderson, Elmer Winslow and John Turck.
All veterans in attendance were asked to stand, and were honored with a round of applause.
Next, the Fillmore Central seventh through 12th grade mass choir, under the direction of Sarah Holton and accompanied by Susan Bigalk, sang a very moving arrangement of the song "Who are the Brave?"
Briefly speaking to the sacrifice of those who serve our country, Scheevel, a veteran of the Vietnam War, remembered the young men of our community who where killed in Vietnam. He stated that not a week goes by that he doesn't think of them and wonder what their lives would have been like had they lived.
Scheevel shared that of the entire population of our country only 1 percent of the population are currently involved in active military service and that only a very special 3 percent of the total population of our country are veterans of military service.
With sincere appreciation, Scheevel thanked the school students and staff for their support of the local servicemen groups' efforts. He specifically acknowledged band director Lane Powell and choir director Sarah Holton for their ready support of the community ceremonies.
English teachers Jackie Whitacre and Gerri Nielsen were also acknowledged for their involvement in organizing special programs into their curriculum. Neilsen leads the "Voice of Democracy" program at the high school. Whitacre coordinated the VFW Patriot Pin seventh and eighth grade student essay contest. A total of 60 student entries were submitted this year by Fillmore Central junior high students.
Scheevel shared that he was impressed with the quality of the essays this year. The first place and second place prizewinners were announced. Riley Means of Preston was awarded second prize and Katelin Mensink of Preston was awarded first place. Katelin also won the 2011 contest!
The ceremony closed with the retirement of the colors by the Legionnaires and Scheevel's comments to remember our veterans as "Freedom isn't free, but it is a very precious commodity!"