Veteran's Day Assembly

God bless America, and all of the men and women that have served and currently serve this nation. On this Veteran’s Day, Oconomowoc High School hosted many veterans and families of veterans to honor their commitment to service. This production was planned start to finish by our very own Hans Schiefelbein. Hans is a current Junior at Oconomowoc and executed this assembly as his Eagle Scout project. With the successful completion of this project, three more completed merit badges, as well as a successful completion of a board of review which reviews all of his scouting achievements and accomplishments. Hans will then be awarded the Eagle Scout rank. Once awarded the rank of Eagle Scout, Hans will join some remarkable men including Neil Armstrong, Vice Admiral Dirk Debbink (OHS graduate), and Mike Rowe. This title holds as strong as Valedictorian when applying to colleges, and gives him the option to possibly go up a rank if he decides to join the military. The opportunities of higher pay and better education will be some of the few benefits that result from Hans’ hard work and dedication.

 Two remarkable veterans spoke at the event, Jerry Stern and Dirk Debbink. Mr. Stern is a 92 year-old Navy man who served during World War 2 as a fire controlman third class. He spoke to the students and guests as if he had known them for decades. He told stories of his high school days, war days, and principal days. He reflected on why he decided to join the military and the impact that it had on his life. He left the audience with “3 golden nuggets”: show up, pay attention, and choose wisely. To follow up Mr. Stern’s comical and inspirational speech, Vice Admiral Dirk Debbink took his time to thank his fellow veterans and their families, as well as inform the audience on their duty on this national holiday. Mr. Debbink served for many years in the US military and ended his career serving at the Pentagon as a three star vice admiral. Mr. Debbink called the students to action, and he confirmed that a simple “Thank you” or buying a veteran lunch goes a long way when acknowledging their heroic actions.

According to Hans, “The purpose of the assembly was to give students a stronger sense of why we should thank Veterans”. This assembly had a special place in Hans’ heart, and is more than a requirement to become an Eagle Scout. Hans truly believes that Veterans are worth more than a “Thank you” one day a year, and he hopes that his assembly inspires more people to live a life of gratitude.

Samantha Andritsch