Season of gratitude

Veterans Day service held at CFHS encourages students to thank the community’s veterans


Nathan Baszuro

Craig Hedstrom addressed the gym packed full of students on Veterans Day.

The month of November is notorious for Thanksgiving Day. The big feast on Thursday is engulfed in fall tones and cornucopias to decorate the table overloaded with turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and bread. But the dining cannot begin yet. Earlier this month, a very important day (which sometimes is overlooked) occurred Veterans Day. The holiday, observed annually by the nation every November 11, was recognized at Cannon Falls High School with a benevolent ceremony. 

Before the ceremony commenced, the high school band and choir entered the gym early to prepare for their contributions. Students flooded into the stands on both sides of the gym. Once everyone was seated and the room quieted down, Minnesota Honor Society members escorted senior veterans into the rows of folded chairs placed just before the  podium. The ceremony began with the presenting of arms, the pledge of allegiance, the high school band’s playing of “America the Beautiful”, and the national anthem, which was also played by the high school band and sung by the high school choir. 

After the opening of the ceremony, Principal Tim Hodges introduced this year’s featured speaker, American Legion Commander, Craig Hedstrom. He reminded his audience to thank veterans. He spoke about honoring the American flag that represents the freedom and democracy the military so proudly defends. He encouraged students who are unsure about their futures to enlist, just as he did as an indecisive high schooler. Hedstrom’s advice and stories were wise and appreciated by everyone in attendance. 

The speaker’s address was followed by a boys choir group singing “Tell My Father”. The audience found the sentimental song moving, so the group will be performing it once again at their next choir concert. Keeping the nostalgic mood, a presentation recognizing Cannon Falls veterans, both active and inactive. The ceremony concluded with the band playing “Armed Forces Salute”, where attending veterans humbly stood during their branch’s section of the song.

“Our country is a wonderful place to live””

— John Hobert

The program was organized by one of Cannon Falls’ very own veterans, John Hobert. He had served in Vietnam from 1969-1970 as a member of the General’s staff at the Fifth Army Support Command. Reflecting on his own time serving, he acknowledged that the positive side of his experience was how he proudly defended the country’s democracy and freedom.  “Our country is a wonderful place to live,” Hobert highlighted. After he served, the Staff Sergeant became the Agricultural Education instructor at Cannon Falls High School. 

Despite Hobert’s retirement from his teaching position, he maintains involved within Cannon Falls Area Schools by coordinating the school’s Veterans Day program every year. Explaining why it is important to have a presentation honoring the holiday at the schools, Hobert stressed, “Students at our elementary and high schools should be exposed to the sacrifices made by our area veterans.”

Veterans are not always given the praise they deserve;the annual program helps remind students to be grateful for the bravery of the men and women who protect the country’s freedom and democracy. Though Veterans Day has passed, citizens should remember to thank their community’s veterans whenever they find the opportunity. Hopefully, the Veterans Day program will have students remembering to be thankful for their veterans and thankful for their freedom, before they get their eat on this Thanksgiving.