HOISINGTON — Each year, Hoisington High School celebrates veterans and their service to our country with a special brunch and assembly for veterans and students to pay homage to all veterans living and deceased.
"We are proud to salute our veterans," said HHS Principal Meg Wilson. She made special mention of HHS graduate 2nd Lieutenant Edward Schwartz who died during the Korean Conflict and whose remains were returned to the U.S. and buried in Hoisington in 2009.
In his memory, donations were made to restore the clocks that have marked the passage of time at HHS, and that stopped when the 2001 tornado struck the school.
The HHS band played the "National Anthem," "Armed Forces March," "Stand Tall America." A salute was given to fallen warriors followed by a stirring rendition of "Taps."
At a special table was flag that was presented to Battery E of the 161st Field Artillery Unit which flew it in Iraq during the Battery’s service in that country. In 2008, the flag was presented back to HHS as Battery E was welcomed back home.
Student Dustin Broeder read a special history of Veterans Day, which was originally known as Armistice Day, so-named to commemorate the cessation of hostilities at the end of World War I. After World War II, the name of the holiday was changed to Veterans Day in the United States to honor all veterans.
Master Sergeant Darren Demel, a graduate of the class of 1984 spoke at the ceremony and encouraged students to think about military service. "I’ve done a lot of things and have gone a lot of places," he said. "Keep an open mind to all of your opportunities. I’m proud to serve."
He was on active duty in Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and Desert Strike. He currently lives in Wichita, but still has relatives that live in the Hoisington area.
The high school choir also participated. They sang, "Flanders Field" and "God Bless America." The audience was invited to sing "God Bless America" with the choir.