Saturday, November 11, 2017

Vets Day Nauta

Commander Bill Nauta welcomed everyone to the Veteran's Day Program.

Vet Day Vets

From Left: Jim Anderson, Marty Bulmahn, Chuck Grandy, Doug Huffman, and Will (Bill) Krueger.

Vet Day Kids Pledge

Vet Day Kids Pledge 2

Vet Day Quilt W Nancy

Above from Left: Betsy Boshka, Wayne Boshka (Korean Vet who was presented a Quilt of Valor), Nancy Thiele, and Jennifer Munao. 

Anniversary of the Armistice Ending WWI

Photos of Island veterans, in uniforms for their branch of the service, flashed across the big screen at the TPAC prior to the Veteran’s Day Program. Many have passed on, leaving poignant memories for those arriving early to watch the display. Commander Bill Nauta welcomed everyone and talked of the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended WWI. The Armistice was signed at the 11th hour of the  11th day of the 11th month in 1918.  Armistice Day was renamed Veteran’s Day in 1954. He gave some interesting details on the changes in warfare that occurred with World War I. A few included the start of chemical warfare and issuance of gas masks, women were included in the service, and aerial warfare.  

The Pledge of Allegiance was led by children in grades 3 and 4. Several students held placards with the words to the Pledge and added explanations of the meanings. All elementary and middle school students joined them on stage to sing and lead the National Anthem. Grades K-8 sang “We the People” and “This is My Country” accompanied by Donna Briesemeister on piano.

This year, instead of a speaker, five Island veterans shared their experiences while in the service. Jim Anderson served from 1962-1966 in the United States Air Force. He was involved in search and rescue missions and air to air refueling. One memory he shared was the sound of all church bells ringing where he was at the time it was confirmed that President Kennedy had died in 1963. In 1967 he was invited to join the Island American Legion. Jim encouraged others to experience the benefits of enlisting:  job training, the education, life long friends made, and the privilege of serving our country.

Marty Bulmahn, United States Army, got his draft notice in 1959. He was trained for radio transmissions and decoding. He served in Frankfort, Germany when the wall was built (1961)separating the east from west Germany. Marty related that he was grateful for his time in the service for the guys he met, the discipline he was taught, and with the education offered he was able to get his Master’s degree. He has been a member of the Island American Legion Post #402 for 18 years. He and his late wife, Jane, vacationed on the Island in 1975 and moved to the Island as permanent residents in 1998.

Chuck Grandy joined the Navy and served from 1962-1968. He realized he was not going to be a football star so he joined the service to “see the world”. He was relegated to submarine duty and was submerged for 60 days at a time – seeing nothing. He also took advantage of the GI Bill to advance his education. He encouraged students to consider the military, and to talk with guidance counselors and recruiters.

Doug Huffman was drafted in 1969 in the Navy. The service gave him direction and purpose at a time when he said he was a “shiftless hippy”.  He humorously noted as an E3 he was recognized for teaching a shipmate how to read well enough to graduate. Doug was trained and served in nuclear powered submarines. He also got an education while in the service. He and his wife moved to the Island 11 years ago. Doug joined the American Legion Post #402 in 2006.

Bill Krueger was in the United States Navy and served on the Great Lakes. He was stationed in Chicago, Illinois and laughed about being the only guy whose mom and dad came down every night to check on him as they lived right in the area. His duties included taking recruits out on the lakes and he served as a ship’s baker. Prior to his discharge, his vessel and crew were ordered by President Kennedy to go head for Cuba.  In addition to firing on an enemy vessel, while there, a large hurricane blew through and the seas were so rough the crew had to lay flat and hang on to get through it. Will concluded with something his father said, “We can’t make you do it but we can make you wish you had”.

At 11 A.M., all stood and faced east for a moment of silence.

Jennifer Munao, with Nancy Thiele, spoke about the Quilts of Valor Foundation. Wayne Boshka, and his wife, Betsy, were called to come forward for the presentation of a beautiful Quilt of Valor to Wayne for his years of service in the Korean War. The quilts are presented for the recipient’s honor in service while realizing the cost of freedom, and for comfort.

Prayers were offered during the service by Pastor Alan Schaffmeyer and Pastor Rick Smith. American Legion members exited the side door to give the rifle salute followed by Leo Derrico playing TAPS.