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WDC schools salutes veterans on 11-11-11

Photo by Rachelle Klemme National Guard Staff Sergeant Matthew Nygren gave the keynote address at the WDC Veteran's Day program.1 / 4
WDC students wore red, white and blue colors for the Veteran's Day program.2 / 4
Photos by Dana Pavek/WDC Schools The VFW Post #3922 Color Guard Unit stands at attention to begin the Veteran's Day program on 11-11-11 at WDC Elementary School. From left: Dave Ludovissie, John Rebischke, Larry Clark, Jimmy White and (partially hidden) Rod Wells.3 / 4
Army veteran Marvin Veden of Wadena, right, extends a handshake of appreciation to Staff Sergeant Matthew Nygren on Nygren's keynote address at the Veteran's Day program. Veden was impressed with SSG Nygren's remarks on the importance of remembering our veterans.4 / 4

Wadena-Deer Creek Schools hosted its annual Veteran's Day program with a moving tribute of music and inspiring speeches.

The program featured an impressive line-up of presenters, speakers and honorees. The program opened with the Presentation of Colors by the Wadena VFW Post #3922, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance led by Joey Price, president of the WDC Student Council.

Directed by Michael Ortmann, the WDC High School choir sang a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem, as veterans, their families, students and staff held their hand over their heart while joining in.

WDC Superintendent Virginia Dahlstrom welcomed all in attendance. She outlined the history of Veteran's Day and its importance throughout history and today. She then introduced Wadena Legion Boy's State representative Matthew Paulson, a WDC senior. Paulson shared his experiences at Boy's State this past summer, as well as thanked the local Legion Club for sponsoring him.

Next, the K-12 vocal music students performed "Thank You, Soldiers," under the direction of Elementary Music Teacher Deb Nelson and High School Choir Teacher Michael Ortmann.

Dahlstrom introduced the fifth- and sixth-grade essay contest winners who spoke on what a hero means to them. Those essay winners were: Kelsey Miller, Alexandra Gross, Steven Thomas, Jack Karlson, Tanner Dixon and Henry Fitzsimmons.

The entire K-12 vocal music students performed a moving montage called "A Tribute to the Armed Services," which featured each service organization song for the Army, Marines, Coast Guard, Navy and Air Force. As each song played, the respective veterans stood up, many singing along to the music and saluting the flag.

The Veteran's Day Address was given by National Guard Staff Sergeant Matthew Nygren, a native of Pillager, who spoke of the importance of remembering our veterans who have served, who've died for our country, and who are in active duty today. He also asked that students pay their respects to veterans today by thanking them. He asked all in attendance to stand up and give our veterans a round of applause as a thank you today. The gymnasium immediately filled with the thundering sound of applause and cheers.

The program concluded with WDC band member Samantha Killian playing the deeply-emotional rendition of "Taps."