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Saluting our Veterans

Kids sang heart-felt thank yous. Students shook the hands of veterans who sacrificed during times of war. Fellow veterans marked the passing of comrades during the year.

Veterans Day celebrations were plentiful throughout New Richmond Friday morning.

The morning kicked off with a ceremony at New Richmond Middle School. The local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10818 color guard was on hand to present the American flag to the crowd.

As the ceremony began, teacher Vickie Cobian said a few years ago only adults understood the sacrifices of war. Over the past three years, however, students understand more about war due to strife in the Middle East.

Cobian asked the middle school students to stand if they knew someone who served or is serving in Iraq. A high percentage of kids rose to their feet.

Assistant principal Scheffen told the crowd that veterans have sacrificed much to ensure freedom for future generations.

"Please let the light of freedom always shine," he said, "so those who have given their lives have not given their lives in vain."

Principal Mike Ballard said he was impressed by the school's efforts to honor those who have served.

"I believe it's vitally important that we take the time to reflect upon the achievements of our veterans," he said.

VFW member John Mortensen and the color guard offered the crowd an explanation about the proper folding of the American flag. When folded, a flag should be folded 13 times.

The first fold of the flag is a symbol of life.

The second fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.

The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing our ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.

The fourth fold represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.

The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, "Our Country", in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country right or wrong.

The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that We pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

The seventh fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.

The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day.

The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood, and Mothers. For it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.

The tenth fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for defense of our country since they were first born.

The eleventh fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies in the Hebrews' eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The twelfth fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in the Christians' eyes, God the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit.

The thirteenth fold, or when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding us of our nation's motto, "In God We Trust."

After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington, and the Sailors and Marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones, who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights, privileges and freedoms we enjoy today.

The eighth grade choir and band each performed during the ceremony.


St. Mary's School conducted a Veteran's Day ceremony surrounding its outdoor flag pole later in the morning.

Students recited poems, sang songs and presented veterans with special table placemats as a gift for their service to the country.

The kindergarten class presented its annual Veterans Day program to a capacity crowd.

The salute to veterans included patriotic songs and readings, as well as a thank you to all the veterans in attendance. A brief lunch was conducted following the event.


The American Legion Post #80 in New Richmond held its annual ceremony and lunch in the late morning.

Post Commander Larry DuBois said the program is aimed at thanking those veterans who served the country with "purpose, sacrifice, bravery and discipline."

Auxiliary President Connie Berning told those in attendance to say thank you to veterans when they get a chance. She then spoke directly to those veterans in attendance Friday, saying the special day is for living veterans.

"You have our deepest gratitude for your service and sacrifice," she said.

Guest speaker Mike Kastens used the moment to encourage Americans to support soldiers during time of war.

"This is not a time to protest," he said, "but a time to be united in support of our troops. When we are victorious, there will be plenty of time to quarrel about how we could do better."

The American Legion firing squad offered a gun salute outside the Legion hall at the conclusion of the ceremony.

Jeff Holmquist
Jeff Holmquist has been managing editor of the New Richmond News since 2004. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and business administration from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has previously worked as editor in Wadena, Minn.; Detroit Lakes, Minn.; Hutchinson, Minn.; and Bloomington, Minn. He also was previously owner of the Osceola Sun, Stillwater Courier and Scandia Messenger along with his wife. Together they previously founded and published The Old Times newspaper for antiques and collectibles collectors; and Up!, a Christian magazine of hope and encouragement.
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