By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
It had the ingredients for a successful Veterans Day program.
A VFW Color Guard, patriotic songs, youths and, certainly, veterans.
Monday’s program, held twice so all K-12 students could attend, was organized by the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) chapter at Chase County Schools.
Students and family members crowded into the auditorium for the high school program in the morning and another program for K-6 students after lunch.
Sprinkled throughout the crowd were several local veterans and their spouses, who were asked to stand and be recognized.
Eldon Kuntzelman of Imperial, a retired Army National Guardsman who served 24 years, was the featured guest speaker.
Speaking from experience, Kuntzelman said it takes selflessness and integrity to serve in the U.S. military.
Unlike Kuntzelman, who volunteered to be in the National Guard, many didn’t ask to serve. But they did it anyway, he said.
The draft was first instituted during the civil war and hasn’t been used since the Vietnam War, he noted.
So since then, all those serving the military have volunteered.
“It takes training, long hours to prepare to defend our country,” he said.
Kuntzelman said men and women in the service have left their families to serve all over the world, in cold and hot weather, and jungle terrains.
“They have risked their lives. They walked away from their families, and turned to each other as family,” he said.
Kuntzelman said he sometimes feels that families of those serving “have the harder jobs.”
Kuntzelman recalled that Veterans Day was initially known as Armistice Day, observing the end of WWI in the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month when fighting ceased between the Allied Nations and Germany during Woodrow Wilson’s term.
The first Armistice Day was celebrated in 1919. The name was changed to Veterans Day in 1938 to honor all veterans.
Members of the third and fourth grade classes sang “Armed Forces Medley” and “Thank A Vet.”
A moment of silence was observed after which sixth grader Carissa Hill played “Taps” on trumpet.
A video presentation highlights several of the U.S. military divisions.