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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Veterans Day commencement fills Park Building

  • The observation of Veterans Day turned out a large crowd from the McPherson community in remembrance and acknowledgment of those who have served the country.
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  • The observation of Veterans Day turned out a large crowd from the McPherson community in remembrance and acknowledgment of those who have served the country.
    After a free breakfast for veterans and guests at the American Legion Hall, a parade proceeded down Main Street, turning east at Marlin Street and making its way to the City Park Department building.
    The Park Department building, which was once a National Guard Armory, was packed with veterans, their families and friends, volunteer staff and children from McPherson’s elementary schools.
    An invocation was given by American Legion Chaplain Carl Kasey, and the McPherson High School Band performed “The Star Spangled Banner,” followed by McPherson Youth Pipe and Drum performing “Amazing Grace.”
    After an introduction by McPherson Area Veterans Committee Chairman Dan Hervey, Retired United States Air Force Colonel Bill Talley gave the keynote speech.
    In his speech, he discussed his capture by the North Vietnamese in 1972, which lead to his time as a prisoner in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton” prisoner of war camp.
    He discussed the rough treatment he and his fellow POWs suffered throughout his time in the camp, and the camaraderie that formed between the imprisoned soldiers.
    After Talley’s speech, VFW post 2715 gave a rifle salute, and Mark Casebeer performed “Taps.”
    Hervey said he was pleased to see so many children at the commencement.
    “I’d like to give a special thanks to all the grade schoolers who came out and honored our veterans,” Hervey said.
    Lincoln Elementary fifth-grade teacher Dave Hoff said Talley’s speech was very well done.
    “It was a great story on Vietnam,” Hoff said, “and very interesting.
    Hoff said the speech, and the event in general, would allow his students to realize real people are involved in wars.
    “The people who have fought in and are fighting in wars are people that we have here in our community,” Hoff said.
    Lincoln Elementary fifth-grader Autumn Muehler said Talley’s speech was very good.
    “I liked the story about how he was taken captive,” Muehler said. “It was pretty brutal.”
    Thomas N. Skipworth, Jr., who served in the Army National Guard for nine years during the Vietnam era, said the inclusion of the elementary school students was great.
    “I think they need to learn more about what’s going on,” Skipworth said, “and what it takes to have freedom.”
    Talley said the large turnout for the commencement was wonderful.
    “It shows the patriotism that lives in this community,” Talley said. “It’s important that we have young people willing to learn about what’s sacrificed to keep our country’s freedoms.”
    Page 2 of 2 - The commencement was followed by a chili luncheon for all who wished to stay.
    At 7 p.m. a potluck dinner for veterans and their families was also served. Baked steak was served, with those attending bringing covered dishes.
    During the potluck dinner Talley was presented with a quilt by the War and Peace Quilters as a gift thanking him for his service to our country.
    The breakfast was sponsored by Harden Hospice Care of Kansas, and the luncheon was sponsored by Wendy’s, The Investment Center and the McPherson Chamber of Commerce.
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