Veterans Day is approaching, and with it comes a variety of events around Custer County to honor those who served their country through military service.
As always, the centerpiece of the day will be the annual Veterans Day program put on by the Custer School District next Thursday, Nov. 9, at 2 p.m. at the Armory. This year marks the 23rd annual ceremony.
The program, sponsored by Custer American Legion Post No. 46, is run by the students, and includes a flag posting by the local Civil Air Patrol, patriotic songs performed by all ages of school children, a performance by the Custer High School band and choir, a POW/MIA ceremony, remembrance of deceased veterans from the past year, individual recognition of each veteran in attendance by Custer Cub Scouts and sixth graders and the retiring of the flag by the Civil Air Patrol.
Guest speaker at this year’s program is Hugh Holmes, commander of the S.D. Department of the American Legion.
Holmes grew up in Doland and attended Southern State College/ University of South Dakota at Springfield, majoring in mathematics. He was commissioned as a 2LT in the U.S. Army, eventually attaining the rank of lieutenant colonel. He taught math at Crow Creek Tribal High School and Mitchell High School.
Holmes’ last full-time employment was with the S.D. Department of Labor and Regulation in Mitchell. His military assignments include Fort Riley, Kan., South Korea, Fort Bliss, Texas, West Germany, Presidio of San Francisco, Calif., and Fort Monroe, Va. The first half of his Army career was in the Air Defense Artillery and the second half in personnel.
Building on their success from the past four years, the Custer County Democrats and Custer County Republicans will again join forces to host a social with snacks for the veterans immediately following the program at the school. The social provides veterans a time to relax, chat and share stories.
The Hermosa School will honor veterans in conjunction with American Legion Post No. 303 on Nov. 9. At 8 a.m. a ceremony will take place outside the school in front of the flagpole.
Elk Mountain School has a program planned at 1 p.m. Thursday. Each year students from kindergarten to ninth grade perform patriotic music, conduct readings and present each veteran with a carnation. A coffee and pie social accompanies the program, along with flag retiring and raising ceremonies.
Custer Cub Scouts Pack 25 will make its annual visit to Custer Regional Senior Care at around 4:30 p.m., working with facility staff to honor resident veterans with a rose and hand-drawn card.
On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, Custer VFW Post 3442 will conduct a ceremony at Custer Cemetery’s flagpole at 11 a.m. The event will include a speaker and the Custer Veterans Joint Honor Guard. That will be followed by a potluck lunch at the VFW from noon to 1 p.m. The lunch is open to all, with the request that attendees bring a dish to share.
In Hermosa, American Legion Battle Creek Post No. 303 will host its annual soup and chili feed beginning at 5 p.m. at the post home. The event is open to the public, with a free-will donation suggested.
The feed has been hosted for a number of years as a way for the post to show its thanks to the community for its support of the Hermosa American Legion.