Custer turns out for student-run Veterans Day Program

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CUSTER, S.D. -

Hundreds of people from Custer and surrounding communities came out Thursday afternoon to celebrate the city’s veterans, living and deceased.

The 23rd annual Veterans Day Program was held at the Custer City Armory, and honored the sacrifices of veterans with patriotic songs performed by the Custer High School Band and Choir, as well as elementary students.

The event is produced entirely by Custer students as a show of their appreciation for veterans’ service. Numerous organizations gathered to honor veterans, including the Civil Air Patrol, which posted and retired colors. Custer Cub Scouts personally greeted every veteran in attendance, and Custer Girl Scouts led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.

The annual program aims to educate and inform younger generations about the importance of America’s men and women in uniform.

“It’s extremely important for us to do this,” said Ben Wahlstrom, Custer High School student body president. “It brings the community together, and the little ones get to learn about what Veterans’ Day means.”

One veteran emphasized that Americans shouldn’t just show their appreciation for veterans, but also those currently serving, because they will be veterans in the future.

“When you see a veteran, whether it’s somebody like myself with a Vietnam hat on, or you see active duty, or the reserves, walk up and shake their hand,” said Dennis Cornell, a U.S. Navy veteran who served in the Vietnam War, on the aircraft carriers U.S.S Ranger and U.S.S. Saratoga. “Thank them for their service. It just blows them away, because they’re doing a job. They don’t think people know they are doing a job.”

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