Veterans Honored With Patriotism And Pageantry

Anita Campbell
County Reporter
The Warsaw High School Student Council, National Honor Society and FCCLA honored local veterans at their annual Veterans’ Day Assembly on November 13 in the WHS gym.  Veterans and their families were invited for breakfast served by Student Council, NHS and FCCLA members.
After breakfast, the veterans and the WHS and JBMS students were entertained by the WHS vocal and instrumental music departments.
Aubrianna Umlauf and Alexa Scrivener presented a “Voice of Democracy” poem.  The WHS Choir performed the National Anthem as well as other patriotic songs.  The WHS Band performed  “The Stars and Stripes Forever”.
The WHS Madrigal Singers and Women’s Choir performed “We Remember Them” as well as the popular “Salute to the Armed Forces”.
Veterans Day is a time for Americans to pay respect to those who have served.  This holiday started as a day to reflect upon the heroism of those who died in our country’s service.
It coincides with other holidays including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day which are celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I. Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. At the urging of major U.S. veteran organizations, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.
Veterans Day is distinct from Memorial Day, a U.S. public holiday in May. Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day honors those who have died while in military service. There is another military holiday, Armed Forces Day, a U.S. remembrance that also occurs in May, which honors those currently serving in the U.S. military.
Local veteran Eric Kirby reflected on Veterans’ Day as a time to show respect to those who have served.
“My father and my grandfather served in the military so I signed up because I wanted to serve my country,” said Kirby.
Kirby was stationed in Japan for most of the four years he served in the United States Marines.
“I planned to make a career in the Marines but an injury I sustained made that impossible,” Kirby said.  Kirby’s son is presently serving in the military at Camp Pendleton.
Kirby returned to Warsaw and married his high school sweetheart, Debbie Neeley.  Together they are the parents of five children.
Kirby now serves as the Comandante of the Warsaw LeatherNecks Det 1254.  The LeatherNecks meet at 607 East Jefferson in Warsaw on the second Friday of the month at 6 PM.  They also serve breakfast on the third Saturday of the month at 7 AM.
“We offer a place for Marines and other former military to meet, play cards and hang out,” said Kirby.  “We also work to raise money to help our community.”
“We have raised funds to help the Benton County Sheriff’s department purchase vests for their officers and we also have helped finance youth soccer and baseball.  Right now we are raising money for Toys For Tots and the Shop With a Cop programs,” said Kirby.  “We continue to serve wherever we can.”
The Warsaw LeatherNecks also contribute to Camp Valor and Camp Hope to help sick and wounded veterans.
“We are proud to honor our service men and women with our annual event,” said Student Council sponsor Nathan Copling.  “We appreciate their service.”