Hamburg area veterans enjoyed camaraderie at Hamburg High School’s annual Veteran’s Day Breakfast on Nov. 9, featuring patriotic songs performed by the school’s select choir Aerial Boundaries.
The Veteran’s Day Breakfast was organized by Hamburg High School Principal Chris Spohn, social studies department head Clark Zimmerman and history teacher Gerald Evans, who is also the Military History Club adviser, with help from students, Lisa Eisenhauer and David Shefter in the cafeteria.
Every year they invite a local veteran to speak.
“For people who have been in the military, we like to hear stories about others in the military. It’s just one way of giving local people an opportunity to tell their story,” said Zimmerman.
This year’s speaker was Myerstown veteran Al Boyer who talked about his Navy days aboard a submarine during the Cold War. He served a combined 40 years in the Navy and the National Guard Reserves. His proudest time was serving in the Navy.
“It’s a duty I loved,” he said.
U.S. Army Major (Retired) John Ide of Perry Township has attended Hamburg High’s Veteran’s Day Breakfast for the past three or four years. He enjoys talking to others who served in the military.
“I enjoy it. Two of my classmates (Hamburg Class of 1965) are here and other people that I know,” said Ide.
Ide was drafted on Sept. 21, 1966 and retired on Jan. 9, 1989.
“I appreciate what the community does and what businesses do for the veterans. It’s time we got recognition. I wasn’t in Vietnam but I was in during the Vietnam era and you got no recognition at all during that time,” said Ide. “Now people are starting to appreciate us, now that we’re getting older.”
Sitting with him during the breakfast was Fred Williams Jr. of Hamburg who served in the 101st Airborne Division. Williams enjoys talking to other veterans also.
High School Principal Chris Spohn is credited with the idea that lead to holding the first Veteran’s Day Breakfast nine years ago.
“It’s great to see familiar faces here,” said Spohn.
A retired veteran himself, Spohn served in the Army Reserve for 26 years including two deployments during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
“It’s always a great event. So often people will say, ‘Thank you for your service.’ I know everybody means well but when you can put a bunch of guys who served and have that camaraderie together and share each other’s bond, it’s always a lot of fun.”
Spohn hopes that the veterans see that the younger generation genuinely appreciates their service.
“They get to see that we have great kids here in the Hamburg area; they’re serving food, helping out, they’re singing,” said Spohn. “I think the kids enjoy it. The kids get to learn from the veterans and we get a chance to showcase for them and show our pride. It’s always a great day.”