Published On: Thu, May 29th, 2014

Military personnel honored at Randolph Memorial Day service

RANDOLPH — As a country, Memorial Day is a time to reflect, connect with the past, and remember that which binds America. Randolph took part in its annual Memorial Day service Monday at Randolph High School. Several VFW and American Legion members were in attendance to present the colors.

Mayor Dwayne Schutt welcomed those in attendance. The invocation and benediction were led by Pastor Fallon, St. John’s Lutheran Church. The ceremony was accompanied by the RHS Music Department. Under the direction of Mary Hahne, the band played “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” and the choir sang “God Bless the U.S.A.” The national anthem was sung by Adrianne Kruger and Brooke Hanson. “Taps” was performed on the trumpet by Haley Schnoor and Andrew Schnoor.

This year’s featured speaker, Art Bermel, presented an informational speech. It focused on the importance of what the people did who founded the United States. Speaking about the wars and battles of the past, he led up to where our country is today and the things that need to be done in the future to protect the freedoms of the United States of America.

Each year a high school senior is chosen through a selection process to present the “Voice of Democracy” speech at the Memorial Day service. Cinda Jones announced this year’s winner of the speech, Leo Haselhorst. His speech is included below.

This year’s second place speech was awarded to Michaela Strathman; Mackenzie Lemmons received third place.

Sophia Harder received first place in the Patriot’s Pen contest. Jerry Wiese, commander of the Randolph VFW, gave his appreciation for the youth that participated in Monday’s services.

Shortly after the services were held, a gun salute and memorial service was held at the Randolph Community Cemetery and the St. Jane Frances Catholic Cemetery.

The following is Leo Haselhorst’s Voice of Democracy speech. This year’s topic was “Why I am Optimistic about our Nation’s Future.”

“When one asks about the future, the first thing that comes to mind isn’t the politicians in power; they don’t think about the economy or the stock market. The first thing that comes to mind is the students and future generations of our great nation. The students are the future, and no amount of policies or laws is going to change that.

Every day I see a spark in someone’s eyes, that spark that drive them to do the impossible, to not only reach past goals, but to set the bar even higher. This passion, this spark, doesn’t exist in Washington. It exists in classrooms all over our nation. It creates a standard of excellence that each and every student lives up to.

Even though we look to the future, we cannot forget our past. Our great nation has been through countless trials, and emerged victorious. The Shot Heart around the World, the first time someone had the courage to stand up to the mightiest nation of the time, marked a stepping stone for the rest of the Revolutionary War. We have survived many other wars because of the courage expressed on the battlefield. Saddening events like 9/11 and Pearl Harbor brought us together to defend our nation.

But we are not a militaristic nation. Our great deeds do not all include death and war. The signing of the Declaration of Independence was the birth of the United States. Several years later the Constitution was drafted, granting life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to all. Fast forward to the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln, which granted all slaves freedom. The Civil Rights Movement tore down the final barriers separating the people of our nation. Each of these events would not have taken place if not for the leaders of the time.

Pick up this week’s issue of the Randolph Times to read more!