Several area communities and schools are planning ceremonies to continue the 99-year tradition of remembering those who served the country in uniform, first as Armistice Day, and then, since 1954, as Veterans Day.
Van Buren Community School District hosted its Veterans Day programs today. The first program was at 9:45 a.m. in the high school gym in Keosauqua. The second program was at 2 p.m. at the elementary school in Douds. Both were open to the public.
The school district had its annual programs today because classes will not be in session Friday, and the actual Veterans Day holiday, which is Nov. 11 each year, falls on a Saturday.
Lockridge will have its Veterans Day program, hosted by the Lockridge Veterans Association, Saturday morning.
This is not an event just for veterans,” said Paul Corbin of the Lockridge Veterans Association. “We all know someone who went off to war, to fight for the liberties of our country, or to provide support for the effort. The effects of which are felt by all members of a family, and in some cases, an entire community.
“I invite each and every one to come out, show your support. Share a cup of coffee, hot tea or juice, have a sweet roll or pastry, and take part in some community fellowship.”
The honor guard will meet at the Lockridge Community Center at 7:45 a.m. to march to the cemetery at about 7:50 a.m.
The ceremony at the cemetery will include raising the flag, singing of the national anthem by the Calvary Baptist Men’s Group, and the firing of a volley of rounds followed by taps, the bugle call for “lights out,” which also is sounded at military funerals.
After dismissal, the group will return to the community center for fellowship, including coffee, tea, juice and pastries, before the Veterans Day program, with the theme “America At War: Where Are We Now?”
The program begins at 8:45 a.m., with the opening reading and prayer.
The opening reading was written several years ago, but Corbin said it still holds true today: “In a world tormented by tension and the possibilities of conflict, we meet in quiet commemoration of a historic day of peace. In an age that threatens the survival of freedom, we join together to honor those who made our freedom possible,” he recited.
Following prayer, Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action will be recognized, the Calvary Baptist Men’s Group will perform special music, followed by a moment of silence.
The ceremony will conclude with the posting of the flags and taps. The Honor Guard members are Larry Messer, Richard Richardson, Tom Weir and Corbin. Jeremy Crile will play taps.
For more information or to be a member of the Honor Guard, contact Corbin at 319-696-2760.
“Community participation is always appreciated,” he said. “I am looking forward to hearing from my local veterans.”
Pekin High School invites the public to help honor military veterans, those currently serving and their families at 9 a.m. Monday in the Pekin High School Gym.
Additionally, the Pekin Talented and Gifted Program students invite service members and their families to a complimentary breakfast and social hour beginning at 8 a.m. at the Pekin High School.
This year’s program will feature: an opportunity to sponsor a wreath from Wreaths Across America, posting of the colors by American Legion Post 504, a performance by the Pekin choir, and special speaker Jered Brisby.
Brisby served as an enlisted soldier with Iowa Army National Guard. He is a native of Keokuk and graduated from the Keokuk Community School District in 2001.
He began his military career by enlisting into Detachment 1, Charlie Company, 224th Combat Engineer Battalion in Keokuk in 1999 as a combat engineer. During his service, he served as a heavy equipment operator, team leader and deployed with Charlie Company, 224th Engr. Bn., to Iraq.
Brisby served as team leader for 1st Platoon, Charlie Co. during the 224th Engr. Bn.’ s mobilization and deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Serving a total of 18 months on active service, he was responsible for locating and reducing Improvised Explosive Devices and reduced a majority of the IEDs by hand placing C4 explosives. He received the Combat Action Badge after being struck by an IED that exploded under his vehicle. His platoon was responsible for keeping the maneuver and supply routes free of explosives for the 2nd Marine Division stretching from the Jordan/Syrian border to Fallujah, Iraq. His company reduced over 250 IEDs during their tour in Iraq. His platoon also was responsible for the reduction of weapons and explosives caches that were hidden in the cities and country. He and his platoon were responsible for the reduction of one of the largest caches ever found in Iraq and it was estimated to be over 20,000 tons of explosives and ordnance. The Theater Command changed the amount of explosives that could be reduced at one time after that explosion.
During this time, the 224 Engr. Bn. received numerous awards including the Army Meritorious Unit Commendation, the 2005 National Guard Association of the United States Walter T. Kerwin Readiness Award, the Association of the United States Army General Milton A. Record Award, and a 2005 Department of the Army Deployment Excellence Award.
Brisby’s awards include the Combat Action Badge, Army Commendation, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, National Defense Service, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M Device, Army Overseas Service Ribbon. Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal, and the Iraq Campaign Medal
Brisby and his wife Kim reside in rural Wapello County and have two children: Kadence and Reece who attend school in the Pekin Community School District.
The Cardinal Community School District will have its annul Veterans Day program at 1:30 p.m. Monday in the high school gym.
The program is open to community members.
“We usually have a pretty good crowd,” said Luke Miller, Cardinal’s band teacher. “We usually fill the gym.”
Guest speaker will be The Rev. Kelly Peavey, pastor of Agency, Batavia and Blakesburg United Methodist churches. Peavey is a military veteran.
A highlight of the program will be performances by the Cardinal band and choir, including an Armed Forces salute. When each branch’s song is played during the salute, veterans of that branch are asked to stand for recognition.
Other highlights will be the reading of the winning Cardinal poem, a slideshow of photos of community veterans, a 21-gun salute, and taps.
“I have taught in different districts and participated in other Veterans Day programs … this is one of the best organized programs,” said Miller. “I am proud of what we do here at Cardinal for Veterans Day.”