On Thursday, Nov. 9, veterans and community members joined the Nevada High School student body at the Josephine Tope Community Auditorium for a Veterans Day assembly planned by the school and the Nevada American Legion.

Nevada High School Principal Kody Asmus stated, “Our annual Veterans Day assembly continues to be one of the most worthwhile experiences that occurs during the school year. It provides an opportunity for our students to connect with the past and show their appreciation for not only local veterans, but for veterans all across the state of Iowa and the United States. This has been and continues to be a great event. Thank you to Chris Lloyd and the other local community members who made this experience possible for our students, faculty and staff.”

Assistant Principal Dustin Smith commented, “Nevada’s Veterans Day program is so very important to help educate our youth of the sacrifices current and previous generations have made for our freedoms. Nevada’s program is extra special as it is brought to life by students for students and community members. As we move forward, I hope more and more community members take advantage of this opportunity to show our respects for veterans in our community.”

Girls State Citizens, Mackenzie Garrett and Logan Stufflebeam, and Boys State Citizens, Lucas Durkop, Luke Ferguson and Luke Fevold, led the program. After the Iowa State ROTC Color Guard posted the colors, the audience sang the national anthem and said “The Pledge of Allegiance.” A video about the Puppy Jake Foundation was shown, followed by guest speaker Kris Dobesh of the Puppy Jake Foundation. Dobesh brought Nicole, a service dog in-training and talked about the mission of the Puppy Jake Foundation. She also had Nicole show skills that she has learned as part of her training as a service dog for a veteran.

A key component of the ceremony was the presentation of a Quilt of Valor to Dale Ball as a token of appreciation for his service. Ball, former principal for 17 years at Nevada High School, served in the United States Navy during the Korean War era. Beth Lycke and Ann Kurtenbach, from the American Legion Auxiliary, wrapped the quilt around Ball as Logan Stufflebeam said, “As we cover you with your Quilt of Valor, think of it as an angel wrapping its wings around you to comfort and protect. Thank you so much for your service.” After the presentation, Don Kockler, commander of American Legion Post 48 from Nevada, addressed the audience and asked them to never forget the sacrifice of our veterans and to remember that we are the “land of the free because of the brave.”

Luke Ferguson and Luke Fevold read poems about the sacrifices of our veterans and the Nevada Concert Choir took the stage to sing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” After the song, Lucas Durkop gave a short speech about the meaning of “Taps.” Kimberly Garcia and Harold Dobernecker played “Echo Taps” and the student body left the auditorium in complete silence out of respect for our deceased veterans. Senior Lucas Durkop said, “I thought that the program today was a huge success. There were a lot of different things that happened that made it very interesting. I also feel that it was a very emotional ceremony today as well. I was able to witness some veterans with tears in their eyes while the choir sang. I also saw a lot of pride in the eyes of all the veterans today when ‘Echo Taps’ was being played. I am very thankful to be a part of this wonderful ceremony.”