ELLSWORTH – Ellsworth Middle School held its annual Veterans Day ceremony on Thursday. Nov. 11. Many community members, American Legion members, middle school students and veterans were in attendance to remember and commemorate this day.
The school invited Col. Patricia Baker to speak to the audience at this year’s ceremony. She talked about her experiences as a pilot in the Army and National Guard over the last almost 30 years.
She took questions from the audience including community members and students. Many asked her what her favorite and least favorite aspects of serving were. One audience member asked, “What would you tell someone who is hesitant to join the Armed Forces?”
Baker had a thoughtful answer to a tough question. “Many jobs and career paths may not go anywhere and you are left with the feeling of ‘Did I ever make a difference?’ and I have never and will never feel that way about the work that I do in the Armed Forces,” Col. Baker said.
Col. Baker was part of the initial response after the 9/11 attacks, and she was part of the aviation regiment who helped to capture Saddam Hussein.
The ceremony also featured student speakers from each grade who talked about traditional patriotic ceremonies, including flag folding demonstrated by sixth grade students.
The middle school choir and band also performed during the ceremony. The choir sang “A Tribute to the Armed Services” and featured each branch of the military’s songs. The veterans in attendance were invited to stand during the song that represented their individual branches.
The Bay City American Legion Post performed a gun salute and John Johnson performed A Prisoner of War and Missing in Action Remembrance at this time.
Sixth grade speakers Samantha Gernentz and Sophia Place narrated the process of flag folding, which was executed by sixth-graders Hunter Bench and Shawn Huppert. Photo by Melissa Thorud
Col. Patricia Baker was the featured guest speaker; she talked about her service in the Army and National Guard in aviation, and after she took questions from the audience. Photo by Melissa Thorud
Col. Patricia Baker with student speakers (from left) Gavin Wittenberg (Grade 7), Carly Girdeen (Grade 8), Chase Kressin (Grade 8) and Bridget Dendinger (Grade 7). Photo by Melissa Thorud
Seventh grade student speakers Bridget Dendinger and Gavin Wittenberg reciting “Freedom is not Free” during the Veterans Day ceremony Nov. 11. Photo by Melissa Thorud
Col. Patricia Baker with student speakers Samantha Gernentz and Sophia Place on Thursday, Nov. 11 at Ellsworth Middle School. Photo by Melissa Thorud
Eighth grade student speakers Carly Girdeen and Chase Kressin reciting “High Flight” at the EMS annual Veterans Day ceremony. Photo by Melissa Thorud