Veterans Day ceremony held at Hardin Primary School

Students learn the fundamentals of our nation’s holiday
Thursday, November 15, 2018
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Photo by Carl Danelski

United States Army veterans Steve Hopes and Bill Joseph demonstrate the ceremonial folding of the American flag during a Veterans Day celebration at the Primary School in Hardin on Monday. In back, from left are; Bill Eshleman, U.S. Army, Richard Chapple Sr., U.S. Army Reserves, Joseph Deigert, U.S. Navy, Brandi Machado U.S. Navy, Olivia Lamach, Army National Guard, Bob Wagnitz, U.S. Air Force.

About 200 of Hardin’s Primary School students, along with staff, faculty and Principal Roxanne Not Afraid, gathered at the school’s auditorium Monday to celebrate Veterans Day and learn some important information about our country. Led by a contingent of local veterans, the group recited The Pledge of Allegiance, observed the careful folding of the American flag, and sat in good conduct while the presenters taught why exactly this holiday is so important to our nation.

Led by Retired Army Veteran Bill Joseph, the students learned about the colors of the American flag. Joseph explained that the blue stands for “the Chief; the top,” and that the stars represent the states, pointing out that one of these stars represents Montana. Then, he explained the stripes, noting that the white stands for purity and innocence, while the red stands for valor, or-in other words-bravery.

“We’re a brave people. We fight for our freedom,” Joseph said.

Following a round of formal introductions, two of the presenters demonstrated the proper folding of the flag. The students watched attentively while Bill Joseph and Steve Hopes, U.S. army retired, folded the American flag.

“The thing that you saw just now is what they do to people that have died in the military,” explained P.E. Instructor Mr. Deigert, also a veteran of the United States Navy. “And they hand the flag over to their spouse or their family.”

Veteran Bob Wagnitz spoke about his time as a metrologist, working all over Greenland, Iceland, and northern Canada. Quoting General George Washington, Wagnitz said, “If you have peace, prepare for war.” He continued by explaining what this means for us as a nation. “That’s why it’s so important that we have standing military operations in peacetime. The Romans said the same thing, that the best way to have peace is to have a strong military.”

Veteran Steve Hopes gave Wagnitz and his wise words a great deal of context when he asked the group, “Who’s ever heard about a war called World War II? Maybe you’ve heard your mom and dad talk about it; maybe you’ve heard it on TV. Well the gentleman who just spoke was part of World War II and we’re pretty honored to have him in our group.”