NEW BUFFALO — Two assemblies were held on Veterans Day at New Buffalo Middle/High School.

A morning assembly on Nov. 11 honored veterans for their service to the country, with members of American Legion Post 169 presenting the colors.

Keynote speaker for the morning ceremony was Dr. Lee Strohl, MD, who served in a DMZ medical unit in Vietnam.

“Every single veteran has a history of their experience, and no two are alike. I would encourage all of you today to (learn about) veterans in your family and their experiences in the service,” he said.

Winners of the New Buffalo VFW essay writing contest (Patriot’s Pen for middle school and The Voice of Democracy for high school) were recognized during the assembly. They are: Erica Palmer (8th grade, 1st place, Patriot’s Pen, qualified for Regional competition); Phoebe Zalewski (6th grade, 2nd place Patriot’s Pen); Samuel Tripp (8th grade, 3rd place Patriot’s Pen); Bianca Ilescas-Villa (8th grade, Patriot’s Pen participant); Carmen Holt (7th grade, Patriot’s Pen participant); Jacqueline Behzadi (6th grade, Patriot’s Pen participant); Camille Czech (senior, first place Voice of Democracy, qualified for Regional competition); Craig Ruszkowski (freshman, 2nd place Voice of Democracy).

In the afternoon, teachers Becky Hartley and Jennifer Bauer talked about the history of New Buffalo Area School’s Peace Pole before a new version designed by Middle School SADD students (Students against Destructive Decisions) inscribed with messages such as “May Peace Be In Our World” and “All Are Welcome Here” was unveiled.

Students spent two years creating the new Peace Pole design, which was later slipped over the existing pole near one of the building’s entryways.

The New Buffalo Peace Pole was first put up at an entrance to the former school during a public ceremony held in 1996, bearing the Peace Pledge messages such as “May Peace Prevail” in different languages. SADD students also placed a time capsule under the pole (it’s contents were on display during the Nov. 11 ceremony).

The Peace Pole and time capsule were installed at the new Middle/High School in 2001 (and moved to a different location in 2020).

During the Peace Pole ribbon-cutting ceremony, Middle School Principal Bradley Brunner noted that his two grandfathers both served in World War II.

“For our veterans service never stops, and it’s the heart of every veteran, it’s the reason why they go into military service or go into law enforcement or other acts of public service,” he said.

High School Principal Wayne Butler, a Navy veteran, talked to Middle School students about “Responsibilities to each other, to take care of each other, to support each other, to be good to each other.”

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