SPEARFISH | Of all the Veterans Day observances Doug Henwood attends on Nov. 11, he said the program at Spearfish Middle School set for 8:30 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 9, is a favorite, because, he said, it is all organized by students.
“The Middle School student council plans it, arranges it, everything’s done by them,” said Henwood. Commander of Spearfish American Legion Post 164.
“They put on a great show,” he said.
The show includes speeches and music, with the school band playing songs from all branches of the military, Henwood said.
“When it’s all done, they line us all up and the whole school goes by and shakes hands with every one of us, which is pretty cool stuff,” he said.
The Spearfish Middle School program is just one of many Veterans Day observances scheduled over the weekend and on Monday, because the traditional Nov. 11 date falls on a Sunday this year.
This year Veterans Day takes on a special significance because it was a century ago, at 11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, that what was then called The Great War ended in Europe.
The United States, which suffered more than 117,000 killed during that war, has observed Nov. 11 since then, first as Armistice Day and as Veterans Day since 1954, a day to honor all men and women who have answered the call to defend the nation.
“It’s a busy, busy weekend,” said Henwood.
On Sunday at 9 a.m. a group of veterans and first responders will present a donation for the Veteran’s Monument Wall project in Spearfish.
On Sunday at 1:30 p.m., the High Plains Heritage Center, 825 Heritage Dr. in Spearfish will host a Veterans Day Tribute, including guest speaker Col. Mike Kain, with entertainment from the Potter Family’s USO-style music show.
Also on Sunday, Spearfish VFW Queen City Post 5860, 3102 E. Fairgrounds Loop, will host a dinner at 6 p.m. preceded by a short program, according to post commander Eric Kinslow.
Deadwood VFW Post 5969 will host its annual Veterans Day event at 11 a.m. on Sunday at 10 Pine St. The event will include a program with speaker Orson Ward; award presentations from the Auxiliary and a lunch to follow. The free event includes lunch and is open to the public.
Veterans Day observances in Belle Fourche include separate programs on Monday at the Belle Fourche Community Center, 1111 National St., at 9 a.m.; Belle Fourche Elementary School, 1816 Valley Dr., at 10 a.m.; Belle Fourche Long Term Care Center, 2200 13th Ave., at noon; and Belle Fourche Middle School, 1302 Ziebach St., at 2 p.m.
A 10:30 a.m. Sunday observance at the Sturgis Vet’s Club, 868 Main St. includes a gun salute and flag ceremony at 11 a.m., followed by a chili feed.
Also on Sunday, a dedication of the Custer Veterans Memorial is set for 8 a.m. at Memorial Park, followed by a reception at the Custer VFW.
Monday Veterans Day school programs are set at the Custer Armory at 2 p.m. and at the Hermosa School at 2:15 p.m.
In Rapid City, a special Veterans Day program is set for Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Main Street Square, followed by the annual parade organized by Rapid City VFW Post 1273, at 11 a.m., through downtown Rapid City.
(Editor's Note: The above story has been changed to report the correct date of the Spearfish Middle School assembly.)