A Solemn Tribute to Our Veterans


Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Dakota Ridge's Veteran's Day Assembly included impactful speeches and heartfelt tributes.

Margaret Young, Staff Writer

The Veteran’s Day assembly began with the Color Guard presenting the flags of the USA and the state flag of Colorado. It was solemn when the choir and orchestra performed the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Several seniors followed with candles in their hands as  a tribute to our veterans and all their bravery for this country. 

The introduction speech was from Dr. Jelinek, additional staff members were also recognized, including Jeff Bowman, Jason Casanova, and David Bruening. Jelinek also thanked Angela Berkenkamp for organizing the whole event, and ended his speech by reminding the audience to keep a family in their thoughts. 

Kelly Kennedy, the senior student speaker, talked about her grandfather’s military stories and the courage that veterans display. “It takes courage just to join the military,” Kennedy said. She pointed out the courage that veterans show in the military, and that we should always remember our veterans. “Veteran’s Day is more than sharing military stories, it’s about giving thanks,” Kennedy said. 

Dutch Schulz, a junior speaker, presented an emotional speech about mental health issues veterans must face and the lack of support programs for veterans. After soldiers come home from months of fighting, they often feel as if they don’t belong when they return. “You come home, and no one remembers your name,” Schulz said. He talked about how his dad was a Marine, and felt displaced when he returned from military service.

 “I know firsthand about these troubles… this how I lost my father,” Schulz said. The audience was respectfully silent to this revelation and many were visibly moved to tears. Schulz ended his speech by encouraging others to get involved with veteran outreach programs, especially by donating or volunteering to these programs. “Or do something for a veteran you know,” Schulz said. At the end of Schulz’s speech, the audience rose in a standing ovation. 

As the ceremony drew to a close, a candle lighting ceremony and veteran roll call was given to honor veterans who have served our country. On their way out, many of the veterans greeted Schulz with a final hug before leaving the gym.