FORT LORAMIE — The Veterans Day program at Fort Loramie Schools took on a different look than what has been done in past years. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic the organizers of the annual program had to think outside of the box. Traditionally, the Old School History Club puts together a veterans breakfast and a veterans assembly each year. With the current policy of crowd sizes and not being able to bring guests into the school building, the plan turned to going outdoors with this year’s program.
“We started with the idea of having a ‘cruise in’ of some kind with military vehicles and combining that with a flag-retiring ceremony,” said Brad Turner, who is the adviser of the club. Turner spoke with Fort Loramie resident Chuck Wray, who is a member of the Freedom Drivers. The Freedom Drivers group is made up of veterans who have collected retired military vehicles. Wray reached out to the group and they expressed interest immediately.
Military recruiters were contacted about participating and when it was all said and done the 304th Engineer Company from the US Army sent five impressive vehicles as well as 10 service members, the US Army reserve sent a truck, and the Freedom Drivers added five vehicles to be on display for the “cruise in” portion of the event. These gentlemen were available during the cruise in portion of the event to talk with the students and answer questions about their vehicles and about their service.
Students were able to spend time getting an up close and personal look at the vehicles. Some students took advantage of the opportunity to start up some of the truck engines, blow the horns, and climb in and sit on the vehicles.
The event then shifted into a flag-retiring ceremony that was led by high school members of the history club. The American Legion Post 355 assisted in the program by providing the color guard for the day. The program ended with the proper disposal of several tattered and worn American flags by burning them in a dignified and respectful manner.
Typically there is one district-wide program held at the high school for students in grades K-12. But with the social distancing recommendations, a separate program was planned for the elementary students. Each and every current service member and veteran that came in the morning for the high school program stayed for the program for the elementary presentation in the afternoon.
Turner had this to say about their commitment, “For these gentlemen to give their entire day to Fort Loramie Schools to help us celebrate and teach about Veterans Day is tremendous and we are very grateful for their time and what they brought to our day.”
Since area veterans were not able to attend this year’s program video and photos of the event can be found at the school district’s website and social media pages.