Area schools honor veterans
Crosslake, Pequot Lakes, Pine River-Backus and Nisswa schools hosted Veterans Day programs Friday, Nov. 10, and Monday, Nov. 13, to honor area veterans.
Nisswa Elementary School Principal Molly Raske paid tribute to Dell Draves, a longtime Nisswa resident and veteran who died Sept. 15. Draves was active in the Nisswa Garden Club, the Nisswa Historical Society, the Nisswa American Legion and the Nisswa Lions Club.
"Dell was a blessing to the Nisswa area," Raske said in her speech. "He was excited about life, learning, ensuring that students at Nisswa Elementary School had the latest and greatest of technology in their hands, loved giving our fourth-graders pop and cookies at the flag disposal ceremony and sharing the belief that our Nisswa Legion members have for investing in our children and, therefore, our future."
Raske presented Draves's family members with a Lifetime Friend of Nisswa Elementary Award.
Retired Army Col. Julie Engdahl, sister of Crosslake Community School Business Manager Jodi Schott, spoke to students about her time in the Army. Engdahl explained how there are a lot of different jobs in the military - such as instructors, social workers and medics - and emphasized that only 15 percent of military personnel are women.
Veterans in attendance were recognized for their service.
Following Engdahl's presentation, the audience joined students and staff to sing "I'm Proud to Be an American."
After the ceremony, students got to check out gadgets Engdahl brought, including pictures, uniforms and medals.
Jordan Nickey of the Army Reserves spoke to Pine River-Backus students Monday, Nov. 13, regarding the cost of enlisting in the military. Nickey said the military is not a walk in the park for men or women (even while pregnant, as Nickey explained) but determination and hard work can help a person succeed in the military or anywhere else.
The program included ceremonies, the Pledge of Allegiance, the national anthem sung by Paige Poehler, Don Owen, Brianna Blanchard and Brianna Adkins, recognition of current veterans, elementary choir performances of "American Tears" and "Because of You," high school performance of "Homeward Bound," a white table ceremony, a reminder to thank veterans by Activities Director Randy Schwegel, a band performance of "Armed Forces on Parade," and a color guard ceremony, accompanied by taps for the closing of the flag.
The Pequot Lakes Veterans Day ceremony Nov. 10 featured Chief Warrant Officer Kevin D. Jensen speaking to students. Jensen related a story of how soldiers in airplanes trust and depend on other soldiers to safely pack their parachutes during emergencies. He said it is important for everyone, civilian or soldier, to "pack someone else's parachute" by doing what we can to help one another.
The event kicked off with a presentation of the colors followed by the national anthem performed by the Pequot Lakes High School Band, and then the Pledge of Allegiance. William Moe gave a brief history of Veterans Day, followed by a presentation of "In Flanders Fields" by Tabitha Kibbwa.
The Pequot Lakes High School Women's Choir sang "In Flanders Fields" before Sydney Ellison recounted the history of the poppy as a patriotic symbol. Poppies were handed out to veterans in seats of honor in the center of the athletic center. The high school choir performed after Jensen gave his speech and the colors were retired.