A Veterans Day program was conducted at the Morris Area Elementary School gymnasium yesterday, which featured presentations to the vets in attendance and musical selections from the elementary and high school students. Korean War vet Floyd Schmidgall told KMRS that he served oversea a year in the army.
“We never had a house to live or place to live, sometimes we had a tent,” Schmidgall recalled. “Otherwise, we had to sleep on the ground all the time that we were there. Either in the tent or on the ground outside — for a full year.”
Schmidgall said he hopes the young people are thankful for what the vets did for them.
Morris resident Robert Kloos served 22 years with the Army National Guard, mostly based with the Moorhead unit and deployed to Desert Storm, Iraq and Bosnia. Kloos told KMRS that he has been to the Vets Day ceremony before and feels they serve an important role for the young people in attendance.
“Just a time to remember those who had served and those who aren’t here, too,” said Kloos. “Got to remember those.”
His buddy Kip Fondrick, who also served in the Army National Guard in Moorhead, came up from Inver Grove Heights, a first-time attendee of the Morris ceremony. Fondrick told KMRS that he feels young people are generally getting the message of Veterans Day.
“I know military families, especially Guard families, their kids get it, and hopefully it spreads,” said Fondrick. “It’s good to see different ceremonies and stuff, even if it’s something small and quick, to remind them.” Fondrick said he often attends the State’s Vets Day ceremony, which is close to his home in the Cities.
Keynote speaker Doug Anderson, a 21 year veteran who served in Iraq, said on February 21, 2005, war got real for his company.
“On that day, that group of men, we lost three of our friends and fellow soldiers: First Lt. Timmerman, Sgt. Lhotka and Staff Sgt. David Day,” said Anderson. “We’ll never forget them. But still, to this day, what amazes me the most is how that day, the mission went on. Soldiers looked at each other, and we were scared and just wanted to wake up from this evil nightmare and go home. But we didn’t. We stayed serving in Iraq for nine more months.”
Anderson said we owe a huge debt to our veterans, who “carry the torch of liberty for all to see.”
Also speaking were Superintendent Troy Ferguson, Mayor Sheldon Giese, U of M Morris’ Bryan Herrmann and essay winners 9th grader Rachel Steen and 6th grader Milla Spike.