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Area residents show appreciation in different ways

Photo by Deb Gau Members of the Marshall American Legion demonstrated folding an American flag during a Veterans Day program at the Marshall Adult Community Center. The flag folding ceremony was accompanied by an explanation of the symbolic meaning of each fold.

MARSHALL — It was a day for reflection and remembrance, Eli Cole said. But Veterans Day was also a day to show appreciation for the men and women who fought for their country.

“We are grateful, and acknowledge your many sacrifices and accomplishments,” Cole said, speaking to the veterans gathered at the Marshall Adult Community Center.

Cole, one of seven Marshall High School students speaking at Monday’s Veterans Day program, reflected on different branches of the U.S. armed forces and their history. And all of the students emphasized how important it was to thank veterans for their service.

“A veteran is someone who is willing to give up their lives,” for their country’s safety, said MHS student Jack Pedersen. “Veterans Day reminds us to give thanks to the heroes with the dedication to risk their lives for us.”

From spoken remarks to handmade quilts, community members shared a variety of tributes to members of the U.S. military at the Marshall Adult Community Center on Monday.

Around 50 people attended this year’s program observing Veterans Day.

Instead of a more traditional speech, the program featured an American flag folding ceremony. Members of the Marshall American Legion demonstrated how to properly fold the flag, and at each step Post Commander Kenneth Versaevel explained the symbolism of the process. It takes 13 steps to fold the rectangular flag down into a triangle, showing only a blue field and white stars on the outside.

Each of the 13 folds has a different meaning, Versaevel said. The first fold stands for life. As Versaevel went through the flag ceremony, others of the 13 folds represented our country, faith in God, members of the armed forces, their mothers and fathers, and more.

It’s not certain who first came up with the meanings of the 13 folds in the flag. Versaevel said some sources attribute it to a Gold Star mother, a military chaplain, or even an urban legend. But the reflections were fitting for Veterans Day, and might be new to many people.

“We think a lot of people haven’t heard the reasons,” for each flag fold, he said.

After the program, community members could also see a display of patriotic quilts sewn by area residents for veterans. Nancy McClain encouraged people to contribute to the Quilts of Valor program, which presents service members and veterans with their own quilts.

“There is no other country in this world that has the privileges and rights and freedoms that we have, and that’s all thanks to you,” McClain told local veterans.

Area residents have made about 60 quilts this year for Quilts of Valor, and each one has been assigned to a veteran or service member, she said.

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