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Natoma set to honor veterans

By LAAH TUCKER

Special to The Hays Daily News

NATOMA -- "Take your hat off when the flag goes by," sang Natoma kindergarten children during practice for the annual Veterans Day Salute, scheduled for Nov. 8. The tribute to the U.S. flag also will include "You're a Grand Old Flag" inspired in 1906 by George M. Cohan's encounter with a Civil War veteran who fought at Gettysburg.

The songs will be one of many patriotic arrangements presented during the Veterans Day Salute at Natoma Elementary School. The fourth annual event begins with veterans displays at 8:30 a.m., "Men & Women of Valor" and "War Brides." Veterans can bring memorabilia for display tables at 8 a.m. A veterans discussion panel with high school students begins at 9 a.m., and the musical salute will be at 9:45 a.m. Students pre-K through 12th grade, under the direction of Arla Homburg, will sing. Bonnie Schamberger will direct junior high and high school bands, and Superintendent Aaron Homburg will be master of ceremonies.

Guests include the American Legion Color Guard presenting the flags, while the Rev. Randy Gibbs, Bethlehem Lutheran, WaKeeney, will play a march on his bagpipe. Col. Ernest Garcia, superintendent of the Kansas Highway Patrol and former sergeant at arms for the U.S. Senate, will be among the dignitaries on the discussion panel. Student presenters will be Kourtney Grafel, Voice of Democracy winner, and Tatem Zeigler, Patriot's Pen essay winner. Also present will be Riley Chrisler, Kansas Highway Patrol cadet, and Rachel Lund, Sunshine Girl's State delegate.

The American Legion Auxiliary Unit 109 and the Paradise-Waldo-Natoma Unified School District 399 are co-hosting the community-wide event. A luncheon will follow for veterans and guests. The Auxiliary also will host a supper and game night for veterans and their families Nov. 9 at the Natoma American Legion Hall. Reservations are requested by Friday by calling (785) 885-4116.

The event is made possible through donations from area businesses, manufacturers and private donors.