By Elaine Rassel
MMCRU High School gym (at Marcus) was the setting for a Veteran’s Day Program on Friday, November 10. Veterans, as well as those of us thankful for their sacrifice for us, were in the audience to remember the 11th month, 11th day and 11th hour of the day the Armistice was signed to end World War I as well as the hope of ending all wars. The program was presented by the MMCRU Student Council.
Veterans could attend a breakfast in the Commons from 8:45 to 9:30 a.m. They then went to the gymnasium and were seated in the first three rows of reserved seats to await the program in their honor.
The Veteran’s Day Program began with Posting of the Colors by Remsen’s Piper Post #220 and VFW #3225 was followed by the Star Spangled Banner sung by Brea Nicks and Caitlin Wetter.
Alyson Ball and Max Pepper welcomed all those in attendance for this Veteran’s Day Program.
Veterans had signed in and as Sadie Youde and Kaleigha Dreckman read their names, the Veteran stood up.
Veterans who signed in for ARMY were: Jerry Waldschmitt (2 years); Ted Deshen (6 years); Steve Matgen (6 years); Elizabeth Groepper (6 years); James Gorezynsli (11 years); Ervin Ahlers (2 years); Dave Nicks (22 years) – all from Remsen. Nels ‘Walter’ Johnson (22 years) but had no town down. Jeff ?? was in the ARMY for 3 years from Marcus. Ab Smith (Marcus) was in the Army but didn’t sign in.
Air Force Veterans were: Larry Rapagnani (23 years); Dan Ohlendorf (5 years); Neal Waller (4 years) all from Marcus. Mike Delperdang (6 years) from Remsen.
NAVY/Air Force veteran was: Jason Jochims (1989-2011) from Marcus. Dennis Specht was in the Navy from Marcus.
Army National Guard Veterans were: Don Keffler (1960) from Remsen; Skyler Casson was in AFANG for 9.5 years from Remsen. Randall H. Galls (3 years) from Remsen. Clark Rainboth (6 years) from Marcus.
Will Dole had signed in but left no address or years.
(Hopefully no one was left out and some names I had a problem making out the name.)
Prisoners or Missing in Action Veterans (POW/MIA) were remembered by the table sitting on the stage.
The POW/MIA Table is smaller than the others symbolizing the fraility of one prisoner alone against his/ her oppressions. The white table cloth draped over the table represents the purity of their response to our country’s call to arms. The empty chair depicts an unknown face, representing no specific Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine, but all who are not here with us. The round table shows that our concern for them is never ending. The Bible represents faith in a higher power to the pledge to our country, founded as one nation under God.
The black napkin stands for the emptiness these warriors have left in the hearts of their families and friends. A Purple Heart medal can be pinned to the napkin. The single red rose reminds us of their families and loved ones. The red ribbon represents the love of our country, which inspired them to answer the nation’s call. The yellow candle and it’s ribbon symbolize the everlasting hope for a joyous reunion for those yet accounted for.
The slices of lemon on the bread plate remind us of their bitter fate. The salt upon the bread plate represent the tears of their families. The upside down wine glass reminds us that our distinguished comrades cannot be with us to drink a toast or join in the festivities of the evening.
Lights out for a slide show on a screen previously made by the MMCRU Elementary youngsters as they recognized Veterans by singing, “Veterans We Love You”.
The guest speaker was Skylar ‘Harms’ Casson. She had a very interesting speech followed by the MMCRU Choir instructed by Ms. De Vos. They sang “Tribute” that was a song to the Armed Forces. This song had a verse from each of the services: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines. (Example—“Anchors Away” for Navy.)
Two of the Legionnaires from Remsen folded our Flag as Kylie Harpenau and Aleah Lux explained each fold.
Jan Irwin presented the Quilt of Valor. The dictionary definition of Valor states—great courage in the face of danger, especially in battle. A Quilt of Valor can be awarded to those who were not wounded or did not face combat. Founder, Catherine Roberts, was a Blue Star Mother. While her son was in service, she wanted to know that someone cared about him; she wanted to tell other Service Members that she cared about them. Quilts of Valor began as a way to express gratitude for today’s all volunteer, modern military. That person who volunteered to serve his/her country was agreeing to sacrifice their life to protect our freedoms and way of life. Valor in a volunteer military is giving up your rights to freedom for a term of service in order to ensure the safety of our nation and population. Courage is facing an unknown future, but moving forward anyway.
The first Quilt of Valor was awarded November, 2003 at Walter Reed Army Medical center to a young soldier from Minnesota. The day that 300 QOV’s were awarded there were one-half awarded to the physically wounded and one-half awarded to those struggling with psychological/emotional trauma and distress. QOV celebrated another award milestone by awarding the 350,000 Quilt of Valor to Representative Jason Crow, a former Army Ranger and Bronze Star Recipient in May of 2023.
A Quilt of Valor is a quality-made quilt and not a “charity quilt.” A Quilt of Valor had to be quilted, not tied, which meant hand or machine quilting. It would be awarded, not just passed out like magazines or videos, and it would say, “Thank you for your service, sacrifice and valor in serving our nation.”
A Quilt of Valor is made from three layers: (1) the pieced top which is usually a multi-colored pattern, (2) the batting which is the center, providing warmth and softness and (3) the backing which holds the entire QOV together.
In order to use the term “QOV”, there must be a specific size, must have a label with required information, must be awarded (it is not a gift) and must be recorded as to who was nominated.
A flag should never be used as a quilt. Our U.S. flag has specific handling rules. Quilting a U.S. flag is an act of disrespect. The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it, any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
QOV quilts are not for sale. They may not be raffled, sold, auctioned nor should any nominated service member or veteran (or their family) be asked to pay. There is never to be money exchanged for the purpose of obtaining a QOV. There should never be personal financial benefit to someone for making a QOV. The name “Quilt of Valor”, trademarks, registered marks and logos belong to QOV. In other words, you cannot give a quilt to someone and say it is QOV quilt unless you have registered with them and obtained permission to use the QOV marks.
Not everyone answers the call to serve our country. It is those rare individuals who are selfless enough to sacrifice much so we can all enjoy he freedom we have. We’ll never know exactly what each Veteran experiences and how they are touched by war. However we can welcome our Veterans home, support them and their families, and thank them for their service whenever possible.
The Quilt of Valor at the 2023 Veteran’s Day Program was awarded to Phil Ladenthin.
Will Dole gave the Benediction and Tia Tentinger followed with closing remarks. The Color Guard retired the Colors and then the VFW went out the East door and gave the 21 Gun Salute. Off in the distance, “Taps” was played thus ending the Veteran’s Day Program.
Our thanks goes to the members of the Student Council for this Veteran’s Day Program.