VMS 8th grade band member Dru Beebe played 'Taps' at the Woodville Veterans Day Program. Photo by Paul J. Seeling
VMS 8th grade band member Dru Beebe played 'Taps' at the Woodville Veterans Day Program. Photo by Paul J. Seeling

WOODVILLE, WI – Viking Middle School (VMS) held the annual Woodville Veterans Day Program last Friday, November 9, 2018. The program was once again held in coordination with the Woodville American Legion Post 301 and Auxiliary Unit 301 and took place in the school’s North Gym at 2:00 p.m. with the students filling the bleachers, band and choir areas. Some members of the community were also in attendance as the program is always open to the public.

VMS Principal Scott Benoy welcomed everyone to the annual ceremony to honor our veterans and gave the opening remarks for the program to the students and community members in attendance.

He stated, “It is a pleasure, duty and honor to celebrate our veterans today as we approach the centenary of World War I when the Armistice was declared at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.”

Principal Benoy asked that everyone stand as the Colors were presented by the Woodville American Legion Post 301 Color Guard, Legion and Auxiliary members. The VMS Band played the National Anthem and was joined by all in singing the “Star Spangled Banner.”

Students Halle Bignell and Abigail Rumpel led the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Mr. Benoy introduced the featured Veterans Day speaker, Pat Schmoller of Spring Valley who is a member of the Woodville American Legion and would be discussing the role of women in the military from her perspective having served in the Marine Corps starting in 1968 in the Vietnam War and many years thereafter.

Her talk was informative about her initial survival of the first 72 hours of basic training with only 42 other women. She noted that there were only 2,200 women in the Marine Corps at that time. She spoke of her first paycheck of $102, $89 after taxes, that left her $20 after making her monthly car payment of $69, but she said, “I didn’t need anymore as all of my other expenses were covered.”

Having been an accountant in civilian life that is what she expected she would be doing in the Marines, but no, they trained her to be a still photographer. Her experience with numbers did come in handy in learning camera f-stops, shutter speeds, lens matrix and the like.

Schmoller did quite a bit of traveling as a Marine and did enjoy that.

She also was inspiring in her speech telling the students of Viking that they too could some day be serving their country.

“It is important for you to concentrate in your education. Take care of your health be involved in sports. And take good care of yourself,” she concluded.

There were excellent musical selections next from the 7th and 8th band directed by Mr. Eric Becker and choir directed by Mrs. Chandra Lamb. The band played, “Hymn to the Fallen” and the choir, “We are the Voices of Freedom.”

Next was the always upbeat Legion Chaplin John Terkelsen who also had words of inspiration and encouragement of the students of Viking Middle School.

“What difference 66 years makes,” he began as he talked about attending Viking Middle School in 1951. The Chaplin who asked that I not state any numbers recently celebrated his 85th birthday. (I hope I’m in as good a shape as John if I make to 85!)

Realize your opportunities; make good decisions he advised. “What is in your heart is in your mind,” he stated with a smile and continued. “Life is about choices; some young people have made bad choices and it wrecked their lives.”

Chaplin Terkelsen advised the students to seek things that bring you love and joy. He asked the students to respect each other and themselves.

In conclusion he stressed to, “Live well, it’s a gift!”

The 2018 Woodville Veterans Day Program finished with the mournful “Taps” played by Dru BeeBe and the retirement of the Colors by the Legion. It was a nice Veterans Day Program at Viking Middle School.