Veterans enjoy BHS salute
A pre-game military flyover and Sen. Pat Roberts topped off a ceremony for Baldwin City area veterans Friday night at Liston Stadium.
At halftime of the Baldwin High School football game, 54 military veterans were honored thanks to the efforts of BHS sophomore Colin Thomas and other students.
“It was really nice,” said Roger Dressler, retired district employee and Army National Guard veteran. “I really enjoyed the whole thing. It’s kind of neat that a bunch of high school kids thought it up.”
Not only did the veterans enjoy being honored Friday, the BHS students involved felt proud to be a part of the event.
“It went great,” Thomas said. “We had great attendance by the veterans. We are really happy about how it turned out. The veterans were really appreciative. It was neat to give them that recognition, considering everything they’ve given to us.”
BHS junior Lauren Barnes enjoyed the entire night of recognition.
“I think it went really well,” Barnes said. “It was well attended. It was a good experience and made me feel honored about what we had done.”
The night began with a Blackhawk helicopter flyover right before the kickoff. All veterans were admitted free to the game and a section of the stands was roped off for them to sit and watch the Bulldogs.
“We were really happy with the flyover,” Thomas said. “I didn’t know the pilot would make a second pass, but that was really exciting. It was a great way to start the event.”
The main part of the evening came at halftime of the game. All of the veterans were escorted on to the field by BHS sophomore Carson Barnes and listened to the BHS band play a couple of patriotic songs.
After the music, Roberts spoke for several minutes to the veterans and hundreds of people in the crowd. Thomas enjoyed his chance to meet the Kansas senator.
“Pat Roberts is one of the coolest men I’ve ever met,” he said. “He was happy to be there and he was really into the ceremony.”
L. Barnes and sophomore Michaela Krysztof handed Roberts a flag that he gave to BHS for honoring the veterans. The flag was flown over the U.S. Capitol.
“It was awesome meeting Pat Roberts,” L. Barnes said. “I got to shake his hand a couple of times. It’s neat to meet someone like that.”
As the halftime ceremony ended, fireworks lit up the sky south of the stadium. The fireworks lasted for about a minute.
Dressler was pleased with the entire evening and the work of the BHS students.
“I thought the whole night was neat,” Dressler said. “I was a bit surprised at how many veterans showed up. It was interesting to see who all was there though. It was a good bunch of people who represented a few generations.”
The BHS students took it upon themselves to honor the veterans after an event last year at BHS that went wrong.
Last year’s Veteran’s Day disaster occurred at BHS when an Army recruiter who had been brought in for the program hit the wrong icon on his computer. Instead of the pro-Veteran’s Day slide show he’d planned, the students were subjected to foul language and graphic scenes intended for viewing by Army personnel.
The presentation caused an uproar and apologies from the Army and school district officials. The school district also vowed to review presentations ahead of time.
“We didn’t just do this because of last year’s presentation,” L. Barnes said. “It was just something that needed to be done. It was great for the community. It was also a great project for us as high school students, plus it was all for people that deserve our recognition.”