Coming together for Veterans Day

Men, women, and children of all ages went to Amboy High School on Veterans Day for a special celebration to honor all military veterans. Flags were waved throughout the program’s entirety. Brandon LaChance/Amboy News

AMBOY – The town of Amboy came together Friday.

Not for Depot Days.

Not for food and drinks.

Young, old, women, children, men, and every other demographic, united for the celebration and honoring of Veterans Day.

It started with a presentation, open to the public, at the Amboy High School gymnasium put on by high school students, staff, and the Amboy American Legion Post 453 Poths-Lavelle.

“It’s really nice to see everyone here,” said Amboy senior Kelton Schwamberger. “I believe it’s the first year we have done a presentation like this in this gym. It’s nice to see everyone come out and that we can be united like this whether it’s all of the schools or members of the community.

“There is a high level of patriotism at our school and all of the students were excited to be part of Veterans Day.”

Schwamberger gave a speech, was part of the band which played the songs belonging to all branches of the military, and he played taps on his trumpet.

Taps can make Schwamberger emotional from time to time, but you couldn’t tell during his playing of Taps for this year’s Veterans Day.

“Both of my great-grandfathers who are no longer with us – Edgar Kugel, served in Italy, and Ray Pohlman, who served in Germany, and my grandfather who is with us, George Schwamberger, battled in Korea – all served in the military,” said Schwamberger, who played the trumpet for the first time during the fifth grade and learned Taps as a freshman. “It has always been really important to me. Having the opportunity to play Taps is always important because it can mean so much to so many different people. I always know it’s honoring my grandfather and my great-grandfathers who served.

“It was hard to learn at first because your same fingers are down; It’s just your lips are doing all of the work. It can be hard getting to the high note, especially if you’re emotional. Once you get it, it means a lot.”

The AHS bleachers were full of students from Central Elementary, Amboy Junior High, and high school students.

Little children waved flags and placed their hand on their hearts, while proud adults saluted and stood tall while the songs and words honored them or loved ones.

The American Legion were the color guard, held the flag, and made sure they demonstrated proper procedure in honoring all veterans.

After leading the end of the ceremony and the exit of the gymnasium, the legion welcomed all to Veteran’s Park for a rifle volley.

The original plan was to perform a flag retirement ceremony, but with high winds, American Legion Commander Jack Mead decided to not properly burn flags and initiated the rifle firing.

“The flags are like another veteran. They’re honored and when they are burned, their ashes are buried in ceremony,” Mead said. “Unfortunately (Friday), it is too windy. I don’t want a fire to break out in Amboy when we’re trying to do good and represent all veterans.”