Published On: Thu, Nov 14th, 2013

Veterans are honored at local schools

Veterans listening to songs

COLERIDGE — Over a dozen veterans had front row seats at the Veterans Day Program at the Middle School in Coleridge Monday afternoon.

The Posting of the Colors by American Legion Post #114 was a stirring opening for the program which honored veterans and military men and women.

John Hoffart, a 1982 Coleridge High School graduate, told about his experience serving in the military for close to 30 years, which includes 20 years of active duty and nine years fleet reserve.

John’s father Larry Hoffart also served 20 years in the military.

Both men served in the Navy.

Hoffart encouraged others to consider serving their country in the military.

“I absolutely loved it. I saw and did so many things that I would never had done without being in the Navy,” Hoffart said. “There is nothing like being at sea. I visited 32 different countries in 20 years.”

Hoffart talked about the dedication involved when serving in the military.

“A soldier writes a blank check to the U.S. Government for an amount up to and including their life,” he said.

LCC senior Ben Barelman, who was the 2013 Coleridge Boys’ State Representative, read a poem about the strength of a soldier, which included the words: “a soldier is always a soldier even while he sleeps.”

“It’s because of a soldier that we are free.” Barelman said.

Barelman talked about his experience attending Boys’ State at the University of Nebraska and encouraged other students to apply for Boys’ State.

“You meet a lot of people from across the State of Nebraska. I had a lot of fun,” he said.

The LCC Middle School Band performed patriotic songs that are part of our American national heritage: “The Star Spangled Banner,” “You’re a Grand Old Flag” and “America the Beautiful.”

A “Celebration of America’s Music” by the fifth-eighth grade choir included a variety of music — patriotic, religious, cowboy and a few Broadway songs, along with a little ragtime music.

A special presentation was also made to Trent Lubberstedt, a seventh grade LCC student, a national winner in the American Legion Auxiliary Americanism Essay Contest.

“Trent’s essay won at every level and he has earned national recognition,” Hoffart said.

Kelsey Kardell and Keely Olsen had everyone’s attention as they raised their horns for the playing of “Taps” before the “Retrieving of Colors” by Post #114 concluded the program.


A program was also held at the LCC High School in Laurel Monday morning.

Michael Dietrich, a 1983 Laurel-Concord High School graduate, returned to Laurel to honor the brave men and women — veterans all services — who have sacrificed both in war and peace to protect America and keep the nation  free.

Dietrich, Chief Master Sergeant Air National Guard and Force Support Squadron Superintendent, asked those gathered to remember the heroism of those who have served in the past and those who serve today.

Armistice Day, which later became known as Veteran’s Day, first recognized the ceasefire for World War I and the signing of the armistice putting an end to the war Nov. 11, 1918, at 11 a.m.: the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

World War I had raged across the globe for four years claiming 20 million lives worldwide.

In 1954, following World War II and the Korean War, Congress replaced the word Armistice with “Veterans” in order to honor all U.S. Veterans each year on Nov. 11.

“On this Veterans Day, we are still a nation at war,” Dietrich said. “Oct. 7, 2013, marked the 12th year U.S. forces have operated in Afghanistan, seeking justice for those Americans killed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Today we honor the unwavering courage of the men and women who have served in our Armed Forces in the ongoing efforts of securing our nation and fighting terrorism.”

Dietrich asked the veterans who were present at the school in Laurel to stand and be recognized and thanked for their service to this country.

A round of applause erupted for the 20 veterans from the area who rose from their chairs.

“Regardless of their era of service, our Nebraska servicemen and women have served with honor and courage, both at home and overseas. They have protected us from harm and they have given others the opportunity for a better life,” Dietrich said.

Dietrich asked people to do more than just utter words of thanks to our veterans but to take action to do whatever they could to recognize veterans for the sacrifices they made.

LCC Principal Jay Vance welcomed the veterans and those who had gathered for the Veteran’s Day Program at Laurel.

“This day was set aside to honor service men and women. We need to remember the sacrifices they have made,” Vance said. “We want to honor these heroes.”

Presentation of the Colors was by the Laurel VFW and the American Legion.

Patriotic music filled the gym as the Laurel-Concord-Coleridge High School band played the National Anthem and the choir sang the “Song for the Unsung Hero.”

Kelsey Kardell and Keely Olsen played “Taps” just before the Retrieval of the Colors which was done at the close of the program.