Southeast Iowa towns plan Veterans Day celebrations
Several area communities, including Lockridge and Pekin, Cardinal and Van Buren school districts, are planning Veterans Day celebrations to honor the men and women who are and who have served in the U.S. military forces.
Pekin plans program Friday
The Pekin Community School District will host a Veterans Day program Friday morning in the high school gym.
The program will at 10 a.m., with veterans’ sign in beginning at 9:15 a.m., with coffee and rolls available.
This year’s guest speaker will be Col. (Retired) Chris Downey, a Pekin alumnus and son of Richard and Charlotte Downey of Richland.
Richland American Legion Post 504, along with Pekin seniors Thomas Slaney and Andrew Hawley, who have enlisted in the military, will present the colors. Sgt. Josh Helterbran will share his poem “Final Inspection.”
All area military veterans, family, friends and community members are welcome to join Pekin’s sixth- through 12th-graders at the program of remembrance and appreciation.
Pekin High School principal Nathan Wood said about 50 veterans attended last year’s program, and he hopes attendance is good again Friday.
Lockridge program Saturday
Lockridge’s annual Veterans Day Celebration is scheduled Saturday morning beginning at the Lockridge Community Center.
The honor guard will meet at 7:45 a.m. at the community center, and then march to the cemetery at about 7:50 a.m.
At the cemetery, the flag will be posted at 8 a.m., and those who are assembled will sing the national anthem “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Rifle team members will fire a volley of rounds, followed by “Taps.”
After the ceremony at the cemetery, those in attendance can return to the community center for coffee, tea, juice and pastries and a program.
The program, set to begin at 8:45 a.m., will include updates on the Lockridge Veterans Memorial, an open reading, prisoner of war and missing in action recognition and a moment of silence. Jefferson County Veterans Affairs advocate Ray Chambers will present the program “Updates for the Veteran.”
“This is not an event just for veterans,” said organizer Paul Corbin. “We all know someone who went off to war, to fight for the liberties of our country or to provide support for the effort; the effects of which are felt by all members of that family and, in some cases, an entire community. Therefore, I invite each and every one to come out, show your support, share a cup of coffee, hot tea or juice, have a sweet roll and take part in some community fellowship.”
For information about the Lockridge Veterans Day Celebration, call Corbin at 319-696-2760.
Student council leading Cardinal ceremony
Community members are invited to join Cardinal Community School District students in honoring the men and women who have given so much in service to the country at 2 p.m. Monday in the Cardinal High School gym.
The guest speaker will be Roger Davis. Davis served in the U.S. Air Force, participated in Desert Storm and is a current member of the Cardinal school board.
The program will feature vocal and instrumental music selections performed by the school’s music department.
Boy Scout Troop 22 will present the flags. The American Legion and VFW will provide an honor color guard.
Parking will be available in the back parking lot.
Van Buren students overseeing program
The Van Buren Community High School in Keosauqua will host an assembly at 10:30 a.m. Monday in the gymnasium to honor military veterans in the community.
The one-hour long program is open to the community, with all active duty and former U.S. military service personnel invited to be special guests.
Students in the high school’s public speaking class are organizing the program, “Past, Present & Future.” The students are creating a slide show featuring graduates of Van Buren and Harmony high school who served in the military.
The Van Buren band and choir will perform musical selections.
Veterans Day history
Veterans Day got its start in 1953 in Emporia, Kan.
Because Emporia resident Al King wanted to celebrate all military veterans, not just those who served in World War I, he began campaigning to turn Armistice Day into “All Veterans Day.” The Emporia Chamber of Commerce found 90 percent of the city’s merchants and the local school board were willing to close Nov. 11, 1953, to observe the first All Veterans Day.
With the help of then-U.S. Rep. Ed Rees, also from Emporia, a bill for the holiday was pushed through Congress, and President Dwight Eisenhower signed it into law May 26, 1954. That November, the rest of the United States joined with Emporia in celebrating Veterans Day.