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CONESTOGA – Cass County community members recognized local veterans Friday morning with patriotic activities at Conestoga High School.

A large crowd gathered in the CHS gym for a Veterans Day program that featured songs and ceremonies. Conestoga Elementary School students traveled from Murray to the high school for the event. K-12 students filled bleachers on both sides of the gym, and many local veterans and their families sat in chairs on the gym floor during the morning.

Conestoga FFA members played key roles in the program. FFA member Jacob Drake served as emcee of the event. He led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance, read a Veterans Day proclamation and delivered opening and closing remarks. He also told the crowd about the meaning of the ceremonial folding of the American flag. Fellow FFA members conducted the flag-folding tribute at the same time.

Students in grades 7-12 performed several instrumental numbers on stage. The entire band played “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “To Gallant Heroes.” CHS trumpet player Cassidy Hartig performed a solo of “Taps” in front of hundreds of people later in the program.

Members of the fourth-grade choir sang “We Celebrate America” and fifth-grade students sang “This Flag We Fly.” The sixth-grade choir sang “Declaration” for the crowd. Cassi Rippe directed both the junior/senior high band and the elementary choirs during the morning.

Conestoga High School Principal David Friedli read names of all local veterans and their military assignments during a recognition ceremony. Members of the audience clapped three times in unison after each veteran’s name was called. They then delivered a long ovation at the end of the recognition tribute.

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