December 09, 2021

Colfax-Mingo Schools welcome veterans for special assembly

Community service and responsibility emphasized during rousing speeches

Colfax-Mingo School District celebrated Veterans Day with a school-wide assembly to honor local veterans in attendance.

More than a dozen veterans from all over Jasper County attended the assembly, representing every branch of the military. They spoke to kids on the importance of service and sacrifice.

Colfax-Mingo Superintendent Erik Anderson began the assembly by thanking all the veterans for their help instilling the importance of the holiday.

“This day is meant to commemorate the people who served to make this county stronger, freer and a little bit more perfect,” Anderson said.

These thanks were also extended by Colfax-Mingo High School teacher Shane Webster, who is currently serving with the Air Force somewhere in the Middle East. Anderson then handed the stage over to Bob Rhone, who served in the Navy for more than 25 years.

Rhone began his speech by walking students through the more than 100-year history of Veterans Day. He spoke about the holiday that preceded the current holiday and marked the end of the World War I: Armistice Day.

“Many of our current holiday traditions come from that original armistice, like the poppy flower, which has been a symbol of peace, came from the French, who planted massive amounts of the flower in fields around the country in the wake of the armistice,” Rhone said.

Then, in the 1950s the original Armistice Day was transformed by President Eisenhower into Veterans Day. This was done to honor all the soldiers who had fought in the wars that followed WWI. Rhone stressed the importance of service to one’s country and one’s community.

“Every time I think of service I remember a speech that President Kennedy once gave. He said, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,’” Rhone quoted. “Everyone sitting up here today gave up their time ... to do their part to serve for the good of others.

A country is more than a piece of groun, Rhone added, it is a group of people who share a set of ideals.

“And the military helps serve those ideals,” he said. “You don’t have to join the military to serve your country. Serve by becoming a teacher, doctor, scientist or even a garbage man.”

Rhone then wrapped up with a lesson for students to remember going into the future.

“If I could leave you all with a single message it’s this, If you take care of others, they’ll take care of you. Being able to rely on yourself is important, but never forget that other people are always willing to help you,” Rhone said.

The assembly came to a close with a special video message from Webster, who sent the school a special message all the way from the Middle East so he could celebrate with his students.

Webster thanked all the veterans who attended the assembly and encouraged students to remember all the people who fought, and are still fighting, for the country.

Webster ended his message saying, “I hope to be back soon and be able to celebrate with you all next year.”

Contact Abby Knipfel at 641-792-4687 ext. 6531 or aknipfel@shawmedia.com

Abby Knipfel

Abby "Adler" Knipfel

Journalist at Newton Daily News. Currently covering Jasper County and writing passionate opinion pieces. They/Them