By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — The tradition of honoring veterans continues to grow at All Saints Catholic School. “To all American veterans, we love you and thank you for our freedom,” read a message in the school’s program guide for a Nov. 5 ceremony. Veterans Day, a national holiday, was Nov. 11.
All Saints’ Principal Jeanne VonFeldt welcomed veterans, parents and other guests, who overflowed from the gym to the cafeteria for the school’s celebration. She gave a description of a veteran: someone who fell in love with their country; was willing to lay down their life for the country; and who develops a lump in their throat when they see the American flag. They pay their taxes willingly, serve their country and cherish freedom. “A veteran is a person well deserving of our appreciation, our love and our prayers, 365 days a year.”
Then, holding a wooden box, VonFeldt shared a story. “I by chance met Colonel Charles Fisher the day before school started in late August. He asked me if he could come and talk to all of the All Saints students about making good choices, working hard and having a very successful school year.”
He met with students the first day of school. “He was so impressed by the students of All Saints that he told me he was going to send the school a flag that has flown over Afghanistan and Kuwait for nine months and 11 days.”
The colonel flew back to Afghanistan a few days later, she said. “I hadn’t heard any more from him and then on Oct. 14, he was back in Davenport for some work at the Arsenal and he wanted to deliver the flag to me. He said he flew with it 8,200 miles to deliver it to me so I could take it and display it at school. I saved it and hid it so I could present it at our Veterans Day program.”
She revealed the contents of the wooden box — an American flag and a certificate that states the flag flew at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan and Camp Arifjan in Kuwait, over the 401st Army Field Support Brigade headquarters.
The certificates reads, “Let it be a reminder to all who enter that ‘freedom is not free’ and that this establishment (All Saints) honors those who have served, continue to serve or have a desire to serve this great nation.” The certificate bears the signatures of Marissa Cosneros, CSM, USA, command sergeant major, and Charles Fisher, COL, LG, commander.
VonFeldt expressed gratitude on behalf of All Saints’ students and staff in receiving “this beautiful flag and case and it will be prominently displayed in our school.”
The school’s band played the “Star Spangled Banner” throughout the ceremony, which also included recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, the reading of prayers and essays and songs sung by students.
Chief Warrant Officer Miguel Flores of Arsenal Island in Rock Island, Ill., attended his first veterans program at the school and described it as a great experience. He explained the history of Veterans Day and thanked the school for honoring those who served. “This makes it worth it being here with you today. Thank you.”
The school’s swing choir closed the event with “America, The Dream Goes On.”