Remembering a nation’s defenders

Chuck Kajer/Patrick Fisher, The New Prague Times
New Prague High School student Josh Shumaker, a member of the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Corps and a US Marine Corps recruit, performed the MIA/POW Empty Table ceremony during a Veterans Day program at New Prague High School Monday, Nov. 12. Ryan Wetschka, also a member of the Cadet Air Corps, read the script. (Chuck Kajer Photo)

New Prague Area Schools presented Veterans Day ceremonies throughout the day on Monday, Nov. 12, in cooperation with the New Prague Veterans Honor Guard.

The first of the ceremonies was held at 8:30 a.m. at New Prague Middle School.

The school’s choir and band provided music. There were also student speakers and the main speaker was Lt. Col. Joe Sharkey, Director of Communications for the Minnesota National Guard. He told the audience that not that long ago he had been sitting where they were when he graduated from the building when it was the town’s high school. “Today we honor with deep gratitude those who endured so much and were so committed to freedom for all,” he said.

He spoke of those who had fought in World Wars I and II and what they had fought for, saying it had not been in vain. He said that 600 soldiers from Minnesota had been among those to fight ISIS and among those soldiers were two from the New Prague area - Staff Sgt. Austin Getzel and Ronald Hvinden. He quoted President Calvin Coolidge, “The nation which forgets its defenders will be itself forgotten.”

At New Prague High School, a program began at 10:05 a.m. that featured performances by the school’s band and choir. Principal Nicole Adams introduced student Samantha Buro, whose speech talked about the commitment of those who serve in the armed forces, including her brother Kyle, a member of the National Guard.

Students Josh Shumaker and Ryan Wetschka, both member of the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Corps, performed an MIA/POW Empty Table Ceremony, a ceremony that honors those who are Missing in Action or who have been held as Prisoners of War. Wetschka spoke of the symbolic significance of each of the items on the table while Shumaker pointed to them.

Also at the high school, a number of military veterans, some of them....

To see more on this story pick up the November 15, 2018 print edition of The New Prague Times. 



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