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Activities to honor veterans
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A small flag waves over a headstone of a veteran at Great Bend Memorial Cemetery. As Veterans Day approaches, several events will take place to honor those who served in the military. - photo by Tribune file photo

There are numerous events planned today and Thursday in Great Bend in commemoration of Veterans Day.

Activities start today with the fourth-annual Veteran Appreciation Day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday at the KansasWorks office located at 1025 Main St. in Great Bend. All military veterans and their families, as well as the general public, are invited. Military equipment will be on display as well as memorabilia from local veterans. Tom Humburg will have the Seven World Trade Centers replica (made out of stacked blocks) available for viewing.

A catered lunch will be provided at 12:30 p.m. with Honor Flight speaker Dan Curtis presenting. Terry Young will speak at 1:30 p.m. on the DAV Transportation Van. Limited seating is available.

"This event provides everyone the opportunity to express their appreciation to America’s men and women in uniform who have put the nation’s well-being before their own," said Darrell Turley, event chairman. Job service information for veterans will also be available.

As Veterans Day dawns Thursday, Great Bend Regional Hospital will offer a free breakfast to veterans and their spouses starting at 6 a.m.

Next, students at Great Bend High School will give special tributes to local veterans at 9:30 a.m. in the GBHS gymnasium. The assembly will include the Pledge of Allegiance, the performance of the "Star Spangled Banner," presentations by students, patriotic music and a speech by Jake Radke.

Then, the observance will move to Veterans Memorial Park for the traditional ceremony.

Veterans and guest will begin to meet at 10:30 a.m., followed by the posting of the American,POW/MIA and Kansas flags at 10:55 by the Color Guard, featuring Mike Kultgen of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3111, Diana Dornberger of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3111 Auxilary, Roy Tittsworth of American Legion Post 180, Brenda Krueger of American Legion Post 180 Auxilary, Stan Jantz of Sons of American Legion Post 180, Lonnie Willard of American legion Riders Post 180, Willard Sanko of Disabled American Veterans Chapter 27 and John Murphy of AMVets Great Bend Chapter.

The GBHS band will play the National Anthem and, at 11 a.m., the Pledge of Allegiance will start ceremony.

The Rev. Dick Ogle will give the invocation and VFW representative Radke will give the address entitled "Understanding Veterans - Our duties and Obligations." The VFW is sponsoring this years event.

Next, veterans who have died will be honored, a 21-gun salute will take place, a GBHS student will play taps, and yellow and black balloons will be released. Kevin Lockwood and his World War II re-enacting group will also be on hand.

At Central Prairie RC&D, staff are on a mission to make sure World War II veterans from Kansas have a chance to visit the World War II Memorial and other monuments in Washington, D.C. The group has arranged expense-paid trips for more than 1,000 veterans and their sponsors as part of the national Honor Flights project.

KAKE TV, Wichita, accompanied veterans on one Honor Flight, and on Veterans Day the station will air brief segments from that trip at 5, 6 and 10 p.m. Thursday, according to Curtis, project coordinator at Central Prairie RC&D, Great Bend. The television station will also broadcast a one-hour special on Honor Flights at 4 p.m. Sunday.

"We are fairly sure there are several thousand World War II veterans in Kansas who do not know about Honor Flights, and we need to know if they want to sign up and go," Curtis said in a recent newsletter. For more information about this project call Central Prairie RC&D, 620-792-6224.


World War I officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. For that reason, Nov. 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of the war. This is why Armistice Day, which later became Veterans Day, is held on Nov. 11, and most ceremonies take place at 11 a.m.