Brainerd High School Celebrates Veterans Day
Brainerd High School has a long-standing tradition of celebrating veterans every year in a unique school-wide program. Area veterans work year-round with school administrators to plan the ceremonies.
“We’ve done it for many, many years, and it is one of the most special programs that we host all year,” said Brainerd High School Principal Andrea Rusk.
Students, veterans, members of the community, and new recruits were filled with pride and respect as the celebration was underway.
“It means a lot. It respects the people that have served longer than me and it shows that they put in a lot of effort,” said Tristan Hanley-Olson, who recently enlisted in the U.S. Army.
“It’s important because of the amount of sacrifice they have gone through, the amount of things they’ve had to see and do,” added fellow new recruit Nathan Neuman.
“It means a lot. It’s not only for me; it’s mostly for my fellow battle buddies and the ones who have served. I haven’t had the chance yet to be able to go out and serve my country,” said Glorie Pegel, who joined the U.S. Army last spring. “But I’m very excited to.”
Retired Brigadier General Art Ludwig, a 1949 graduate of Washington High School, and his daughter, retired Colonel Laura Ludwig, delivered the keynote address.
“Well, I spent 37 years in the military. I started as a private in 1947, got a direct commission after the Korean War,” explained Retired Brig. Gen. Art Ludwig.
“It’s something that I’m extremely proud of. If asked if I would do it again, it’s absolutely,” said retired Col. Laura Ludwig of her military service. “It was truly an honor to be part of the veteran community.”
For the staff at the high school, it is very important to put on a Veterans Day celebration every year.
“Many of our students have military families, grandparents who served in the military, and I think the school is such a great place to educate them and also to honor our veterans in our community as a community event,” added Rusk.
“There’s 22 million veterans today, and the fact that they have a ceremony like this in which people remember that you served is great,” said retired Brig. Gen. Ludwig.
Veterans Day is a day that students and teachers at Brainerd High School alike look forward to every year.
“Thank a veteran, please. Shake their hand, give them a hug. They’ll be very grateful,” said Pegel.
Veterans Day celebrations took place around the Brainerd School District at Harrison, Garfield, Lowell, Riverside, and Baxter Elementary in addition to the high school.