On Wednesday, a generational gap was bridged as veterans and politicians spoke with Trinity Junior and High School students and faculty at the school's auditorium for the 2019 Veterans Day ceremony.
“The Veterans Day program began well over 10 years ago here at Trinity High School," Father Kregg W. Hochhalter, dean of students at Trinity Catholic Schools, said. “We added some things and took some things away, but have maintained the staple of always having a keynote speaker. We always have student participate with readings, singing and plays and we always have the arts present.”
The ceremony began with a social at 11 a.m., with an assortment of dessert items with patriotic decoration toppers. During the social, students were given a chance to speak one-on-one with local veterans in the commons.
At 11:30, the ceremony began with opening remarks, which included three students, Cody Hirchfeld, Victoria Keller and Camden Kubas, sharing the mantle and providing guests and students with a brief history of Veterans Day.
Jody Link, who attended on behalf of Sen. Kevin Cramer, read a letter from the lawmaker that spoke of his respect and admiration for veterans and the importance of showing respect for their efforts and sacrifices. Link mentioned a resolution that Cramer took to the Senate floor that recognized and honored the service members that led the victory over Nazi Germany.
During her address, Link also mentioned her own gratitude and that she proudly honors veterans not just on Veterans Day, but every day.
After the keynote speakers, alumni and United States Marine Corps veterans Cutler Brost and Dawson Brost shared their journey through service and what it meant to them — this included speaking of the treatment veterans have received over the years and how it has affected them personally.
Hochhalter spoke of the pride he feels in seeing former students serve.
“You are proud of them because not only are they doing something so heroic and honorable serving in our military, but they come back and show that off to our current students,” said Hochhalter.
To honor all those who have served, Trinity's band, led and composed by Brian Holder, played each service branch's anthem as the crowd applauded service men who stood to be recognized at the beginning of each song. To culminate the musical number, the choir sang, “God Bless America.”
“What I think was really moving today was that our band played the respected anthem of each branch, and I’m really glad we did that because I think it was really powerful,” Hochhalter said. “It was actually recommended by our social studies department, by Dr. Holder, our music chair.”
Following the ceremony, all were welcomed to break bread at the cafeteria. There Mel Mayher, Navy veteran, spoke with The Press about the ceremony.
“I really appreciated it. I come here every year to this program,” Mayher said. “This is one of a couple of schools that recognize veterans, and they always do a wonderful job.”
Veterans of the American Legion sat proudly together and made time for a photo before making their exit. Leaving, one veteran was asked if he would do it all over again.
His response was succinct and embodied a true veteran.
“Would I do it all over again? Yeah, I would.”