Pat Maurer, Review Correspondent
Originally celebrated as ‘Armistice Day,’ after United States President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed the day a holiday on November 11, 1919, ‘Veterans Day’ has become one of the most honorable and celebrated holidays in the United States. Though November 11 was officially declared a federal holiday in 1921 to honor those who actively served in World War I, this sacred date in the United States did not officially recognize American veterans of all wars until June 1, 1954. Four months after making that significant and rightful change, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first ever Veterans Day proclamation and the date has remained unchanged since.
Monday was Veteran’s Day and I had the opportunity and pleasure this year to attend the annual ceremonies at Clare High School.
Although I arrived about ten minutes early, everyone else seemed to already be there (guess I was late – as usual) and it was “standing room only” with both sets of bleachers full and chairs for the veterans packed as well.
I managed to find a place, even if it was sitting on the steps in the aisle.
It was heartwarming to see the amount of support the community has for our area veterans.
It was certainly a moving experience with speeches by Rep. Joel Johnson; a lengthy roll call of veterans present at the event by organizer and Clare High School Principal Lee Turner; Clare Officer and ex-marine and Iraq veteran Greg Kolhoff; comments by Director of Veteran Services and veteran Renee Haley; and entertainment by the Clare High School Band and vocal performances by former graduate Derek Winter, junior Erin Gray and sophomores Mallory McDowell and even a beautiful duet by McDowell and Emily Yob.
The speeches honored the many veterans who were there and the ones who couldn’t be because they gave their lives for this country.
The music was absolutely outstanding and I am sure I wasn’t the only one with tears in my eyes when Derek Miller sang “I drive your truck” by Lee Brice, a song about dealing with the loss of a son in the war.
Of course I took a bunch of pictures, but they can’t possibly do justice to the program. It reminded all of us that the reason we are able to live in freedom is because of the sacrifices of our veterans.
I got so caught up in it all that when they asked spouses and family of veterans to stand I just sat there until I realized my dad, my brother, my father-in-law, and my son are veterans too and grandson Mikke is serving in the Marine Corps in Japan right now. I stood up!
I think everyone in the whole area must have at least one family member that has served his/or her country.
Don’t forget to thank them for their service and sacrifice…for us.