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Century Middle School students pay tribute to veterans

The Century Middle School band played "The Star-Spangled Banner" as the Park Rapids American Legion Color Guard saluted the flag. 1 / 2
Harley Wellman, Emma Vrieze and Olivia Davis depict their relatives who have served in the military.2 / 2

Century Middle School recognized Veterans Day with a historical wax museum and ceremony.

Under the guidance of social studies teachers Ardis Johnson and Patrick Richard, seventh graders portrayed local veterans, often including a short, biographical speech.

Many students represented family members who have or currently are in the military service.

Harley Wellman's great-grandfather, Leo Palm, enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1941. He was sent to the Philippines. Emma Vrieze's grandfather, John Vrieze, joined when he was 18 years old. He fought in Germany. Olivia Davis' grandfather, Lowell Hoffard, served in the U.S. Air Force.

"For almost two-and-a-half centuries, veterans have selflessly answered the calls to arms to preserve and defend the ideals, the vision and the conscience of our democracy," said Century Middle School Principal Shawn Andress in her opening statement. "Each generation has done its part to deliver a strong and free America for the next generation. They have done so with great determination, personal toughness and a willingness to risk it all for others. Liberty comes at a price, and the men and women who serve our country are willing to pay that price for our freedom and peace. Today, we salute, honor and thank you."

Andress noted that the All Veterans Memorial will be open Saturday (today) for the public to pay its respects.

Twelve readers from fifth and sixth grade — Quinn Hoscheid, Isabel Nevala, Isaac Knaack, Kelly Kirkham, Nora Bolton, Harmony Trygstad, Ella Marotte, Matt Johanning, Reid Sharp, Avery Stuemke and Eli Burton — acknowledged all five branches of the Armed Forces, sharing some accomplishments of each. Servicemembers, invited to stand at the conclusion of each reading, received applause from the audience.

The program concluded with Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A."