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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Honor Flight a centerpiece of Prairie View's salute to veterans

Cheyenne Moss, from left, Mia Covell, and Avarie Hightower channel the World War II-era Andrews Sisters as they perform during the Veterans Day event at the Prairie View Performing Arts Center on Friday, Nov. 10. (Photos by Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)

LA CYGNE – The Prairie View Performing Arts Center was the venue for two Veterans Day celebrations on Friday, Nov. 10. Students from La Cygne and Parker elementary schools attended a morning event, and middle school and high school students attended in the afternoon.

One of the central portions of the program highlighted Prairie View High School participation in the Honor Flight program that sends veterans, each with a student guardian, to Washington, D.C. to tour veterans memorials and special programs. The school collects donations to send veterans, students and staff chaperones on the two-day trip.

Last spring, the school sent five veterans and five students on the journey, and U.S. Navy veteran Bob Burnett and guardians Kimball Uphoff and Shawna Case spoke of their experiences as a slideshow of their trip was projected onto a screen.

The program is already accepting applications from veterans and studentS who want to be involved in next year’s Honor Flight.

The afternoon program, with emcee Tracy Konda, began with the posting of the colors by students Creed Caldwell, Cole Holler, Jacob Law, Cash Lintner, Collin Pope, and Paul Ryan. They posted the U.S. and Kansas flags as well as several flags representing the major branches of military service.

Following the Pledge of Allegiance, the Smiling Singers performed “God Bless America,” with many of them signing the lyrics.

Harkening back to World War II, Avarie Hightower, Mia Covell, and Cheyanne Moss channeled the Andrews Sisters, singing “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” accompanied by the middle- and high-school band. The band then accompanied the high school choir in a rendition of “God Bless the U.S.A.”

Members of the American Legion Hewitt New Post No. 248 fold the U.S. flag as narrator David Nickelson explains the meaning of each fold.

Following the segment on the Honor Flight, students Adrian Brown-Ratty, Aaden Bevan, and Gloriany Penates read their brief essays on what veterans meant to them. Cole Holler then read “Ragged Old Flag.”

The band played the “Marches of the Armed Forces” and as the anthems of the Marines, Army, Coast Guard, Air Force and Navy were played, the approximately 20 veterans would stand as their branch of service was noted.

Members of the American Legion Hewitt New Post No. 248 from Mound City performed the official U.S. flag folding ceremony as member David Nickelson read the significance of each fold. Other post members participating included Jerry Kirley, Mike Iverson, Ron Stanley, Bill Jordan, Jeff Mastin, Kenny Schmitz, and Kris Wharton.

Band leader and teacher Jeffery Russell played “Taps” to end the event as the color guard retired the colors.

Band director Jeffery Russell performs a solo "Taps" to end the program.

Here are more photos from the event:

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