Veterans Day in Saratoga

Joe Kuntz and Deb Clark, representing Saratoga American Legion Post 54, retire the colors at a Veterans Day assembly at Saratoga Middle/High School on Nov. 11.

Saratoga Middle/High School held a Veterans Day assembly last week to remember those who have served in the U.S. military to keep America free and to honor local Platte Valley veterans for their service.

Fittingly, this assembly began at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month in keeping with the declaration of an armistice at that same time and date that ended the fighting in Europe in 1918, bringing an end to World War I.

All the students, teachers and staff of SMHS attended the annual assembly, as well as some town residents. A dozen of the many Upper Platte Valley veterans attended as invited guests.

Each student and attendee received a program outlining the history of Veterans Day. The program also listed each of the military branches with their founding days. The history and significance of the red poppy flower as a token of those who have fallen in defense of America also was outlined in the program.

Saratoga American Legion Post 54 Color Guard of Joe Kuntz and Deb Clark presented the colors.

Music was provided by the SMHS band under the direction of Gregory Paulson. The band opened with “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The band followed Campbell’s remarks with a rendition of “Armed Forces on Parade” as arranged by Andrew Balent, followed by a trumpet solo of taps performed by Rhiwan Williams.

STUCO President Samantha Fiedor opened the assembly then later introduced the guest speaker, Saratoga Town Councilwoman and U.S. Air Force veteran D’Ron Campbell.

Capt. Campbell encouraged the assembled students to consider serving in the U.S. military and discussed her unexpected enlistment in the Air Force and experiences while there. Campbell is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. She became a jet pilot and discussed her time as the aircraft commander of an E-3 Sentry SWACS surveillance aircraft in Alaska and elsewhere.

Campbell then closed by reading a piece written by retired U.S. Air Force Col. Curt Melan about the importance of Armistice Day activities in Europe in remembrance of the 20 million dead, both military and civilian, and the 21 million wounded in World War I.

Saratoga student Logan Robinson presented a roll call of the dozen veterans present for this assembly followed by a moment of silence for those “not able to be with us.”

The veterans present were invited to have lunch with the student body, then the colors were retired.

Veterans also posed for a picture and were each given a set of custom wood-burned coasters from the students in the wood shop.

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