Community honors those who served
The annual Veterans Day program and flying of the Avenue of Flags will mark the observance honoring past and present military personnel Monday in Fairfield.
The Veterans Day program, sponsored by American Legion Post 47, in cooperation with the Fairfield High School staff and students, will be Monday morning in the FHS Auditorium.
The auditorium doors open to the public at 9 a.m. Reserved seating for veterans and their families will be at the front of the auditorium.
FHS students will be seated at 9:45 a.m., and the program will begin at 10 a.m.
Master Sgt. (Retired) Ed Glenn will be this year’s guest speaker.
Glenn retired from the Iowa Army National Guard after serving more than 30 years in both the U.S. Army and the Guard. He lives near Eddyville, has served on the Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont Community School District Board of Directors and is active in veterans’ organizations.
The program also will include a presentation by FHS student Makayla Kessel, who attended the 2013 Girls State, and a video presented by FHS Principal Aaron Becker.
The FHS Band, under the direction of Jim Edgeton, and the FHS Chamber Choir, under the direction of Zach Reiter, will perform patriotic music, and Fairfield vocalist Jan Hunerdosse will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America.”
Sgt. 1st Class (Retired) James Salts will be master of ceremonies, giving the welcome, as well as the closing remarks, and leading the Pledge of Allegiance. He also will give a message regarding the significance of the wording of the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Rev. Jim Cecil, pastor of Fairfield Foursquare Church, will give the invocation and benediction.
Years ago, Fairfield schools would dismiss early on what was then called Armistice Day, and teachers would parade their students to Central Park to watch the ceremony at 11 a.m. — the hour symbolically recognized as the time of the signing of the armistice ending World War I.
After students were no longer dismissed for the observance and inclement weather often kept others away from a ceremony in the park, the American Legion, in 1998, asked then-FHS principal Ralph Messerli if the ceremony could be held in the FHS Auditorium.
Messerli agreed to let the group use the auditorium and also decided to have the high school students attend and participate in the program.
Avenue of Flags to fly
In addition to the program at the high school, the Avenue of Flags is scheduled to be flying in Central Park Monday, weather permitting.
Volunteers are needed to help post the more than 500 flags at 6:30 a.m. and retire them at 3:30 p.m. Volunteers should meet at the Veterans of Foreign Wars building, where helpers will be served a free breakfast.
The flags fly in memory of more than 700 military personnel, whose names will be published in The Ledger Friday.
Families and friends of deceased military veterans pay a one-time fee toward maintenance and replacement of the flags. When the Avenue of Flags program began, each veteran was commemorated with the purchase of a single flag with his or her nameplate. When space for flags in Central Park was exhausted, names continued to be added for the listing printed in The Ledger. The charge continues so flags can be replaced.
For information about placing a name of a veteran on the listing, contact the VFW at 472-9282.