Collin Anderson
Pearson family members sing during a Veterans Day Assembly in Panaca Nov. 7.
Mary Cordle
Local veterans stand in front of Caliente Elementary students during an assembly held in their honor.

By Mary Cordle

Caliente Elementary students honored veterans with an assembly the morning of Nov. 7. As the Lincoln County High School choir warmed up, the group of veterans visiting in back, waiting for the program to start, stopped and stood, putting their hands over their hearts.

As students and visitors entered and were seated, the choir, led by Jacob Lester, sang “The Star-Spangled Banner,” accompanied by Natalie Whimple on the piano. This was followed by the students saying the Pledge of Allegiance. VFW Post 7114 Post Commander Larry Wimsatt read the poem “I Am Your Flag.” The choir then sang “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

After the performance, Lester told the students how lucky they are to live in this country. Larry Wimsatt than explained the way the flag is folded: “The United States flag is folded into the shape of a triangle to represent the tri-cornered hat, in homage to the hats worn by colonial soldiers in the fight for independence in the Revolutionary War. When folded, the red and white stripes are wrapped in the blue, to symbolize nightfall. The shape of the folded flag is meant to remind people of the rights, privileges and freedoms enjoyed in the United States because of the many sacrifices of the many soldiers who have fought. The custom of folding a flag in this manner is reserved solely for the U.S. flag. When folding the flag, care is always taken to prevent it from touching the ground.”

Before going back to class, students had the chance to shake hands with the veterans.

Assemblies to honor veterans took place in schools throughout the county.

Panaca elementary

By Collin Anderson

On Nov. 7, the student body of Panaca Elementary gathered in the Neldon C. Mathews Auditorium to honor the veterans of Lincoln County. Many veterans attended, and their sacrifice was recognized along with the branch in which they each served. Among those in attendance were Mike Anderson, a lifetime Lincoln resident and Navy vet, as well as Dan Chavez and Irvin Wright.

After the veterans were recognized and thanked, there was a quick explanation given about the services veterans could use to make their lives easier. After that, the Pearson family took to the stage to sing “God Bless the USA,” by Lee Greenwood. After each verse was sung, students stood and honored the veterans for their service.

Following the musical number, Craig Beckstrand, a veteran of the US Coast Guard, took to the stage to speak to the kids. He started with a review of his time in the military, including how he was convinced to speak with recruiters after hearing about his friend’s experiences. After that, Beckstrand talked about the history of the Coast Guard and how it is the oldest formal branch in the military, formed on August 4, 1790. He finished by reviewing the Coast Guard’s main duties, including the maintenance of lighthouses and the rescue of those in trouble while at sea.

“The Coast Guard has changed over the years … but it still has the same purpose,” Beckstrand observed, adding, “I’m proud to have served.”

Near the end of the recognition ceremony, a faculty member mentioned that the students had written to over 80 veterans during the week to express their appreciation. Finally, the ceremony closed with two short video tributes to the troops at home and abroad.

Assemblies to honor veterans took place in schools throughout the county.