In memory and honor for the veterans, the Winlock School District hosted the annual Veterans Day Assembly. On November, 10 the Elementary School students and staff met in the gym for the assembly to begin.
As the gym began to fill with students, parents, Veterans, and other viewers, the high school band began to play the songs "Hymn to the Fallen" and "Unknown Soldier." The high school band was under the instruction of Mr. Karl Scarborough, who is also a Veteran. Once the gym was settled and was finally brought to silence, the principal, Mr. Boyd Calder came to the microphone to welcome the guest to the day of recognition.
After Mr. Calder welcomed those in attendance, the men were called forth for the posting of the colors, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the Star Spangled Banner that was performed by the High School Band.
Following the formalities, a special guest speaker and Veteran from WWll, Korean and Vietnam, Mr. Dick Grewelle came forward to the microphone to speak of his time in the service. He started by telling the audience how he had grown up in Kelso and joined the Navy in 1942 after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. After joining the Navy, he attended boot camp in Idaho during the snowy winter time. Grewelle continued to tell the audience how he had wanted to fly planes and had flunked his tests when the service told him how they intended for him to be a medic. After failing multiple tests, he was told that medics were what they needed and that's what he would be. Finally once he understood this need, he passed his tests and became a medic. Mr. Grewelle continued as he told the crowd that he was 18 years old at the time of his first landing in Sicily in 1943. After this landing he attended training in England before going to Normandy.
Continuing with his speech, he moved into his time in Normandy at the age of 19. Starting this topic he told the audience of how he lost his best friend as they came off the ships during the invasion. Mr. Grewelle told the crowd how he was standing next to him as a shell killed his friend instantly but left him with a scratch. After the invasion, he continued that he had spent 22 days taking care of the wounded 24 hours a day. During the first two days he said he didn't have anything to eat and ran on no sleep because he was treating over thousands of various casualties. After his time in Normandy, he described how he had received a medal of honor in France for his work of taking care of the injured. He also received a Bronze Star and Combat Medical Badge, both of which were from the Army for treating the wounded. Also during his time in the service, he told of his time on the destroyers where he did everything himself and received his nickname "Doc" for not only being the only medic but also being the oldest on the ship. Closing his time at the microphone, he told the audience that "I would volunteer, even now, for my country." As he turned to leave the microphone, the crowd stood and applauded Mr. Grewelle while he returned to his seat. Even after he had seated, the room continued to applaud.
Following Mr. Grewelle, Mrs. Wendy Carolan came to the microphone to give honor and recognition to the other Veterans in attendance. After this, she turned the attention of the audience to the High School and Middle School choir. At this time the choirs performed two songs for the audience. These songs included "This is America" and "Heart of America."
Once the choir had finished, it was announced that this would be the time for the children who brought Veteran guests with them to be recognized. One by one some of the children came to the microphone as they introduced family members and family friends who had served in the armed forces. After the guests had been introduced the High School band performed the "March of the Armed Forces" as the different flags for the various brnaches were presented to the crowd.
As each flag was represented with the branch's anthem the crowd was invited to stand if they knew someone who was a member of that branch. With the conclusion of this event the Elementary students were asked to stand as they would be singing "God Bless the U.S.A." with the choirs.
After the song and the members of the audience wiped their tears from their eyes Mrs. Carolan returned to the microphone for the MIA and POW flag presentation to remember those who can't return to their loved ones. During this time of remembrance Dawson Hall performed "Taps." Proceeding the song, the crowd took a moment of silence for the men and women who can't come home.
As the assembly began to draw to an end the colors were retired and the crowd was released as the band played "The Great Escape." While the veterans left the gym the crowd thanked them for their service and bravery for this country.