Austin veterans honored at Ellis Middle School with breakfast, program

Published 7:05 am Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Ellis Middle School students honored their local veterans by enjoying a breakfast and performing several renditions of patriotic songs such as “God Bless America” by the middle school’s band, choir and orchestra on Monday morning.

Veterans breakfasts took place in many of the local elementary schools, as well as I.J. Holton Intermediate School, and were a way for students to connect with Austin’s veterans and their families to thank them for their service on Veterans Day. At tables decked out in red, white and blue, the families sat with their veterans and students enjoyed conversations about what Veterans Day was about.

An Ellis Middle School student performs a solo of the national anthem “The Star Spangled Banner” during the veterans breakfast.

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“This is an opportunity for us to say thank you to the men and women who served our country,” said Principal Jessica Cabeen. “It’s important for us to take time out of our school days to do so. One day is not enough for sure. It’s awesome that the Austin community comes and recognizes our veterans, and every school districtwide supports this.”

This year marked the 100th anniversary of Veterans Day. It was originally known as Armistice Day, which honors military veterans who served in the United States Armed Forces, and marks the formal end to World War I, which ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.

Charles Thimmesch, a Vietnam War veteran, stands inside Ellis Middle School as one of the veterans recognized for his or her service.

Acknowledging the late Norm Hecimovich, the former VFW Post 1216 commander and well-known veteran to the Austin Public Schools District, Post 1216 Commander Scott Wiechmann shared his love and respect for Hecimovich and the legacy of observing Veterans Day, held to honor those who laid their lives on the line to preserve the freedoms of the United States.

“We continue to remember the many sacrifices made by our men and women,” Wiechmann said. “You are the future of this country. You learn to serve others and be active in your communities as that’s what our veterans fought and served their country for.”

With a smile, Wiechmann also touched on Hecimovich’s spirit for the country’s veterans and his advocacy for them.

“He is someone that I’ve come to love and to respect,” he said.”I know Norm is with us today, and I know he’s watching over us.”

Amanda Adams, along with Ellis Middle School students and faculty, recognize the service of Korean War Veteran David Schneider (right) and others during a Veterans Day breakfast and program on Monday morning.