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Lakeview Junior-Senior High School has been buzzing with excitement in recent weeks as staff and students eagerly prepare to host this year’s annual community Veterans Day assembly.

Set to run 9-10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 11, in the school’s east gym, 3744 83rd St., the event is rotated among the three Columbus area high schools each year and put together in conjunction with American Legion Post 84. It’s free to the public and students and staff from any school.

“I always like the year it comes to Lakeview because I have several different pieces of musical anthems in our file we use to salute the veterans,” said Jill Goedeken, Lakeview Community Schools' vocal music teacher of over 25 years who is also director of LHS’ Viking Voices group and concert choir.

The Viking Voices and Accompanist Ann Cattau have been hard at work for their rendition of “A Tribute to the Armed Services-arr Larson,” a special medley that incorporates songs of the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Navy, Air Force (Army Air Corps) and "America the Beautiful." Goedeken said she likes that particular tune because it honors every branch of the military.

“I think it’s just going to be an excellent tribute to our veterans,” she said. “That’s a tradition for the Veterans’ Day program. The band plays it or the choir sings that song so all vets can be recognized.”

It won’t just be the Viking Voices performing, though. The Lakeview Senior High School Band, under Director Wade Howels, will take on “Star-Spangled Banner” and “American In Concert.” Meanwhile, the American Legion Chorus will tackle “This Land Is Your Land" and "God Bless America." The latter will also feature Carolee Wurdeman as accompanist. 

“We’re all about patriotic music here. It’s not only what we do, but we’re vet cognizant of our veterans,” Goedeken said.

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Goedeken said she and other Lakeview teachers take a great deal of time sharing the impact veterans had on our lives and the importance of giving back to them with students. It resonates with her for many reasons, as her son-in-law and late father served the country. Her father was in the Army at the end of World War II, while her son-in-law spent time in Afghanistan as a member of the National Guard.

“It’s quite a commitment,” she said. “Remember to honor our military families as well because families make a sacrifice. When a person serves in the military, the whole family serves. So we just owe it to them to say ‘thank you.’”

John McClure, vice president of government affairs and general counsel for Nebraska Public Power District, will serve as this year’s guest speaker. The American Legion will advance and retire the Colors, while Ken Curry will be the master of ceremonies. The invocation will be done by Pastor Michael Klatt.

Lakeview Principal Steve Borer said he’s expecting hundreds of people to attend, reiterating anyone from the community is invited to help honor all who have served America. District 22 State Sen. Mike Moser, Columbus Mayor Jim Bulkley, Platte County Vet Service Officer Eric Mullally, Lakeview Superintendent Aaron Plas, Disabled American Veterans Pawnee Chapter 20 Cmdr. Dan Jakub, American Legion Post 84 Cmdr. Ralph Gors, American Legion Post 84 Auxiliary President Mickey Behlen,  and American Veterans Post 10 Cmdr. Myron Leffers are among the many dignitaries expected to attend.

“We want to honor our veterans, our community and offer that opportunity for people to come to Lakeview to recognize our veterans and what they’ve done for our community and country,” Borer said, noting his appreciation to the American Legion for helping make the program a success year after year.

Matt Lindberg is the managing editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at matt.lindberg@lee.net.

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