Senior Citizens Center salutes veterans with Friday program

Erin Mullins

The Veterans Day program on Friday at the North Big Horn Senior Citizens Center began with a group flag salute.
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands. One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” everyone recited.
After that, American Legion Post 11 chaplain Jim Thomas led the audience in prayer. He thanked veterans for their service and for the liberties and freedoms that they have provided. He blessed the veterans and the meal that was being served.
Post 11 Historian Nicolle Laffin introduced guest speaker Lee Hudon, who served in the Army at the DMZ in Korea and spent decades in the armed services after that. Hudon was wearing his military dress uniform and joked about wearing it.
“Last time I wore this uniform in official capacity it was barking out orders to 150 men on the deck of the USS Comstock,” he said.
Hudon said it was a privilege to serve in the military and that it taught him a lot. Although Hudon dropped out of high school to enlist in the military at 17, he was able to continue his education when the military paid for his two bachelor’s degrees.
Hudon said he enjoyed his time in the military, and it made him grow up. He ended his speech by thanking every veteran who had served in the military.
After that, fifth-grade singers directed by Chauna Bischoff performed two patriotic songs, “On Veterans Day” and “This Flag We Fly.”
The program closed with Senior Center Director Kim Gifford honoring those who had served. Gifford said it has been her honor to be a part of the Veterans Day program at the senior center for many years. She thanked the veterans for their service. She said every veteran wrote a blank check for anything, including their life, when joining the military and “that is honor.”
Each veteran in attendance had their name, branch of military and years served announced and stood to be honored. After that, Gifford honored a few veterans with a gift of an honor quilt.
Gifford said she was glad to be a part of the program.
“I thought it was great,” she said. “It is always a very special program, and it just feels like we’re honoring people as we should be.”
Laffin said she presented the guest speaker to fill in for the commander of American Legion Post 11, as Rich Fink recently had knee surgery. She said it was a great honor to be the master of ceremonies for the event and she was supported by many great people.
“Lee and his speaking and what he had to say was really wonderful. It was very true, as well,” she said. “It was a team event, and I really appreciate everyone.”