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Veterans Day: NY Mills speakers share stories of patriotism

Representatives from each branch of the service carried a small flag forward. The veterans placed their flags on the stage, before sitting and enjoying the rest of the Veterans Day program in NY Mills. Photo by Connie Vandermay/FOCUS1 / 2
Sixth grader Kaitlyn Kane gave her speech for the VFW sponsored Patriot Pen Contest. Photo by Connie Vandermay/FOCUS2 / 2

First the flag spoke. As a symbol of our country and everything we stand for, the flag stood alone in the spotlight on stage as her history was read.

Veteran songs were performed by the band and choir, a small flag presentation was held, and a wide array of speeches filled the morning in the New York Mills Veterans Day programs held at the school.

During the flag presentation, representatives from each branch of the service carried a small flag forward while the band played.

On behalf of the Marines, Terry Frost and his daughter, Annika, carried a flag forward. Frost is actively serving his fourth tour of duty in Iraq and came home on leave for a week to surprise his family.

Frost also gave a speech on his military experience.

Lydia Irons, along with sisters Madison Kane and Kaitlyn Kane, read essays they wrote for the national Patriot's Pen essay contest, sponsored by the VFW. The essays had to answer the question "Are you proud of your country?"

Lathem Hetland also read his essay with the theme "Is there pride in serving our military?" Hetland won first place in the VFW sponsored Voice of Democracy contest.

Air Force Veteran Jennifer Koennicke shared her experience as both a veteran and a wife of a deployed Air Force Veteran. Her husband Scott was deployed shortly after 9/11.

Koennicke shared the message that we need to be thankful and honor all veterans, not just those who served in dangerous places. She also said communities are a huge help to families of deployed soldiers.