Waterloo community pays tribute to local veterans
By Alan Dooley
More than 200 veterans, family members, local officials and citizens gathered in the beautifully decorated Waterloo High School auditorium Tuesday evening to observe Veterans Day and to honor our nation’s veterans.
Several local officials, guest speaker Fritz Mihelcic and high school students paid special tributes to the assembled veterans, each of whom was wearing a red carnation pinned on them at the door.
The Metzger-Crook Post VFW Post 6504 Color Guard posted the flag and a combined Waterloo and Gibault high school choir magnificently sang the National Anthem and a medley of service songs of each branch.
This year’s celebration – the seventh such event – focused veterans who served in the First Gulf War from August 1990 until April 1991 and a another special group, aging survivors of the Battle of the Bulge, in Europe during the winter of 1944-45.
The 17 million World War II veterans as a group, are dying off at the rate of some 500 each day, as they are in their 90s. Specifically speaking of veterans of the Battle of the Bulge, during which Nazi German forces tried to drive a wedge between U.S. and British forces and retake Antwerp, through which most supplies were being funneled, some 610,000 Americans fought. It was an historically bitter winter, and 89,000 became casualties, including 19,000 who died on the battlefield.
Five of those brave men were present Tuesday, to be honored and thanked. They included Private First Class James Brandon, Staff Sergeant Clyde Erb, Sergeant Norman Eggemeyer, Private First Class Merrill Kirchhoefer and Sergeant Lovelace Kitchen.
The evening concluded with refreshments served in the lobby before the veterans and other attendees left and faced the bitterly chilled night – but with warmed hearts.
For more on this story, pick up the Nov. 19 edition of the Republic-Times.
To view and purchase photos from this special event, click here.