HOPE – It has long been the tradition in Hope to allow students at Hauser Jr-Sr. High School to conduct the community’s annual Veterans Day program at the beginning of the class day on Nov. 11.
More than 40 veterans came to the school’s gymnasium to be recognized and honored during the tribute on Friday.
Following the posting of colors, the playing of the National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance, several officers of the Hauser FFA club each read a stanza of a poem written about the history of the U.S. flag. As the passages were read, club members Gracie Greene and Kyra Meister displayed the proper way of unfolding an American flag.
Hauser student Owen Pribble was then brought forward to read the World War I poem “In Flanders Field,” written by military doctor and artillery commander Major John McCrae in 1915. The final stanza is a plea to future generations not to let the deaths of veterans from past war to be in vain.
The traditional POW/MIA Table Ceremony, which is usually conducted during a remembrance each September at the Bartholomew County Memorial for Veterans, was also held at the Hauser event. Kyra Meister explained the symbolism of the ceremony as fellow student Kylie Mack placed ceremonial items on a dining table.
The highlight was a video montage highlighting Hope-area residents when they were young veterans, along with brief interviews of adults discussing their military experiences, as well as thoughts on Veterans Day. The complex multi-media project was put together by Adrianna Musillami, Charlie Clark, Yulila Karkusha and Elizabeth Clark.
Under the direction of conductor Michael Sweeney, the Hauser Band played a medley of Armed Forces songs. That prompted a number of the veterans to stand as the band recognized their particular branch of military service.
Perhaps the most emotional moment of the ceremony was when a Blue Star banner bearing two stars was presented by Larry Wheeler of the Hope American Legion to the family of Caleb and Micah Walker. The 2022 Hauser graduates both entered the military last summer.