By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — A sea of red, white and blue filled the All Saints Catholic School gymnasium Nov. 10 to honor veterans and those currently serving in all branches of military service. The patriotic colors were not just in the flags the students waved, but also in their uniform tops of red, white and blue.
Members of American Legion Post 26 presented colors to open the annual celebration. Following the Star Spangled Banner played by the school’s band, everyone recited the Pledge of Allegiance and said a prayer.
Principal Jeanne VonFeldt welcomed everyone in attendance in the jam-packed gym. “Look around at all the people that surround us in everyday life. Many of the people who are in our lives or have an effect on our lives are veterans. Veterans are very special people. They are a select group of individuals who looked deep within themselves and found the true meaning of what freedom meant. Without these people we could not have said the Pledge of Allegiance,” she said.
Veterans Day isn’t just a day that commemorates those who fought a war so valiantly, she noted. It also is a day to focus on what they fought for. “Freedom is a thing that many people residing in the United States take for granted. I cherish the gift.”
Von Feldt said each day she is presented with a decision to make. Whether or not it is the right decision, she is thankful to have the choice to make it. “I am grateful that I live in a country where it is a right granted to the people to make the decisions that will mold their lives. I am forever in debt and thankful to those who risked their lives, and to those who lost someone important, someone they held dear so that I could make the decisions that I now make freely.”
She said there are not words big enough, hugs strong enough or smiles wide enough to convey what veterans have done for Americans. “All I can offer is thank you from All Saints Catholic School. You are our heroes.”
First Sergeant Joseph Wertz of the U.S. Army at the Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois spoke to the students and veterans. He noted he loves the opportunity to speak to students and groups and is honored to serve in the Army. He said Veterans Day belongs to all those who strove to make the United States the land of the free for more than 200 years — from the Minutemen in the Revolutionary War to those serving to protect Americans today.
Veterans have risked their lives and given their lives for the United States, he said.
The program also included music by the band, swing choir, children’s choir and middle school choir. Poems and letters from students in various grades were read. The program concluded with guidance counselor Meechee McNeil singing God Bless America. Earlier in the day veterans were invited to visit classrooms, give talks and join students for lunch.