MUSCATINE — A year after the end of the First World War, Nov. 11, 1919, was officially declared Veterans Day.
Now 100 years later, Muscatine veterans continued to be thanked and appreciated with two different events this upcoming Monday.
First, at 8:30 a.m. St. Mary and Mathias Catholic School, 2407 Cedar St., will host an assembly and continental breakfast for veterans in the school gym. This will be the school’s second time running a Veteran’s Day program like this, according to teacher Debra Dunsmore. “The last time we did this program, all the veterans there seemed very touched by it.”
The middle school band, first- to third-graders and fourth- to seventh-graders will perform. Kindergarten students will hand out homemade Veterans Day cards made to the veterans in attendance. The program will also include the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance, which will be led by Korean War Veteran Paul Fywassink. Dunsmore said that about 38 veterans are expected to attend. The program will also honor Norma Morrison, wife of the late Bob Morrison, the creator of the Honor Flights of the Quad Cities program, and a former teacher at St. Mary and Mathias.
At 11 a.m., the American Legion, 110 South Houser Street, will host a free program and light luncheon open to the public. The Edward H. Bitzer American Legion Post 27 is one of nearly 14,000 American Legion Posts and is home to 700 members including Post 27, American Legion Auxiliary Unit 27 and the Sons of the American Legion.
Joe Reike, who is running this event, said there will be a 10-12 minute program, featuring Command Sergeant Major Ned Fry, who served in the Iowa National Guard for 32 years. .
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“Every year, we seem to have less people attending and fewer veterans,” said Reike, “We’ve had longer programs before with several speakers, but as we’ve gotten older and we’ve had less people to help, it’s just gotten shorter each year.”
Reike and the Legion are determined to celebrate the day and show their appreciation to other veterans.
“We don’t know what’s gonna happen or how many people are going to come, but at 11 o’clock, we’re just gonna do what we’re gonna do.”
Reike said Veterans Day is meant to honor the living and deceased and should be taken as a day to let vets know they are appreciated. Beyond the programs and the parades, sometimes just saying thanks can still mean the most.
“A simple thank you goes a long way for them. It means more than a free meal or free cup of coffee, and it really just makes them feel good," he said.