‘Keep the significance’

Alpena honors veterans with ceremony

News Photos by Steve Schulwitz The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 2496 Honor Guard conducts a rifle salute during the annual Veterans Day ceremony at Little Flanders Field on Monday.

ALPENA — Dozens of people shrugged off the wind, snow, and cold to honor our nation’s veterans at the annual Veterans Day ceremony at Little Flanders Field in Alpena.

The poor weather also served as a reminder of some of the harsh conditions our military members surely faced while serving their country and preserving freedom.

This year’s guest speaker was Clayton Van Wagoner, who began his speech by explaining the difference between Memorial Day, Armed Forces Day, and Veterans Day –recognition of those who have died while serving their country, who are currently serving their country, and all who have served, respectively.

On those days, as well as every other on the calendar, people should remember and honor the men and women who served their country, some of whom who died doing so.

“It is easy for us to become complacent and take for granted the freedoms and liberties we enjoy, Van Wagoner said. “I challenge you to keep the significance of these three different days with each one of you throughout the entire year. Veterans are proud of their service, as they should be, but, for the most part, they are a humble lot, and not looking for accolades and fanfare. I can tell you personally, a simple ‘thank you for you service’ speaks directly to a veteran’s heart, and it means a lot.”

Richard Raquepaw performs taps on his bugle near the conclusion of the annual Veterans Day ceremony at Little Flanders Field on Monday.

After Van Wagoner’s speech, Alpena County Veterans Affairs counselor George Stevens introduced the 2019 Veteran of the Year in Alpena County. This year’s recipient is Joe Demski, who not only served in the military but also is a staple in the community as a volunteer.

After receiving the award, Demski thanked those who came out to salute him and all veterans.

The event began with the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of the “Star-Spangled Banner” by Victoria Mictoria. It wrapped up with a rifle salute by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 2496 Honor Guard and the playing of taps by Richard Raquepaw.

The benediction was given by Chaplain Bill Romstandt.

Veterans Day began as Armistices Day in 1926 and became a national holiday in 1938. In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower officially established Nov. 11 as the official holiday, and, although the date was once again changed to the fourth Monday in September in 1968, it returned to Nov. 11 in 1978.

News Photo by Julie Goldberg Sanborn Elementary School second-graders, from left to right, Noah Lixey, Spencer Southard, and Carter Wirgau read a poem called “What is a Veteran” at the school’s Veterans Day assembly on Monday. The school honored veterans who have served and also those who are currently serving.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached at 989-358-5689 at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ss_alpenanews.com.


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