FORT LORAMIE — The Old School History Club of Fort Loramie High School hosted their annual Veterans Day Program on Friday, Nov. 11.
Veterans and their guests were invited to the high school for a hot breakfast that was provided by the National Honor Society. After breakfast a district-wide assembly took place in the high school gymnasium as students from kindergarten through twelfth grade were in attendance.
The assembly began with all 95 area veterans in attendance processing into the gymnasium in a single file line, surrounding the gym floor.
Tim Brown of the Army Reserves, the youngest guest and a 2015 Loramie graduate, led the impressive group into the gymnasium to a standing ovation. John Eilerman, a Navy veteran from World War II, was the final veteran in and was the oldest of the veterans at the age of 91. All of the veterans in attendance were individually recognized as roll was called.
The program was titled “Connections to Home” and was a presentation on the evolution of communications between active duty personnel and the home front. Information was shared on World War I Veteran Al Naber who put together a newsletter during World War II that was sent to area servicemen from American Legion Post #355. Nabler’s great-great niece Caitlin Bollheimer gave the presentation and explained that over the course of the war, an estimated 10,000 newsletters reached servicemen to provide news and updates in the Fort Loramie, Russia, and Houston areas.
A soldier’s letter to his girlfriend was then read by Devin Wehrman. The soldier was Devin’s grandfather Don Wehrman who wrote to his eventual wife Betty during the Korean War. After a music video of country music singer John Michael Montgomery’s “Letters From Home”, Darren Turner shared sound from audio cassette tapes that were made for his great uncle Paul Turner during the Vietnam War. The tapes were Christmas messages from the family while Paul was serving in the Navy.
Sara Stang then shared a correspondence received by her great grandparents’ family concerning the death of Airman James Pleiman who was killed in Vietnam. Pleiman’s sister Rita Utz was in attendance and provided the letter that her granddaughter Sara read for the program. At the conclusion of the letter, Taps was played as the assembly gave respect to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to the country as well as for the veterans who are no longer with us.
Brad Turner, the History Club adviser then shared a Twitter conversation he had with 2012 graduate of Fort Loramie Kyle Miracle who is an active duty Marine. The program then concluded with a live FaceTime conversation between Army Specialist Peyton Barhorst and his family members who were in attendance. Though Peyton’s parents and grandparents knew about this special presentation, Peyton’s brother Chase, a freshman, and Peyton’s aunt Carla Siegel, a fifth grade teacher at Loramie, knew nothing of this portion of the program and it came as a surprise to almost everyone in the audience.
“There’s so much to learn on Veterans Day and this year we focused on the sacrifice all veterans make by being away from home,” Turner said. “We wanted to show how important it was, and continues to be, to support those who are serving and sacrificing and make sure they know they are cared about and loved. Each part of the program touched on different ways people stayed connected and to be able to end the program with showing how far we’ve come in communications was a great highlight.”
The program then ended with “Mail Call” as each veteran in attendance received a package that contained notes, drawings, and cards from the staff and students at Fort Loramie. The Veterans Assembly is planned and executed by the Old School History Club, a student organization at Fort Loramie High School.