High Altitude Society: Veteran’s Day program visits schools
On Thursday afternoon, Deb Robbins began her Veterans Day program, which recognizes veterans and those active in the armed forces, by bringing in community members to speak with students. Children asked questions about the veterans’ careers, families and what it was like to serve their country. St. Clare of Assisi Catholic School hosted Vail Christian Academy and Vail Christian High School. There was a music program and voices were raised, singing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “God Bless America,” “My Country Tis of Thee” and “America the Beautiful.”
It is an emotional program and though tears are shed, it is an inspirational and important start to a week of events. School communities are welcome to attend.
If you miss the week-long school visit schedule, then there is still a chance to honor veterans today at 4 p.m. at Freedom Park in Edwards. Lt. John Krueger has accepted the honor of being the keynote speaker at this free public Veterans Day ceremony at Freedom Park. It is a lovely ceremony along the edge of the pond with the flag flying alongside the handsome sculpture garden. Let’s hope for a sunny day.
Each year, we see Lt. Pat Hammon walking in the Fourth of July Parade. We see her involved in community affairs. She is the face of a woman veteran in the Vail Valley who inspires us with her strength, commitment and grace. She served four years in the U.S. Nurse Corps, including in a Vietnam hospital as a head nurse of the triage-emergency center. We are lucky to have her call Eagle her home.
In closing, there must be mention of Gary Thornton, who graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and served 30 years on active duty. In the 1990s, Thornton commanded a major Coast Guard unit in Norfolk, Virginia, where he directed all maritime safety, counter-terrorism, environmental protection and coastal defense operations. One would feel safe in the company of this man. Thornton closed out the Veterans Day program on Thursday with “Taps” on his bugle.
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Betty Ann Woodland is a longtime local who covers social events including fundraisers, galas and soirees of all kinds. She can be reached at highaltitudesociety@vail daily.com.