November 13, 2013 // Local

Veterans honored at St. John, Goshen

Approximately 20-25 veterans representing all branches of military service attended a program in their honor at St. John the Evangelist Parish, Goshen, on Nov. 8. Among them were, from left, 92-year-old Vince Traxler, Marine Corps; Ken Heckathorn, recently retired from the U.S. Army; Jeff Thomas, Navy; Mike Rody, Navy; and Ray Nowack, Army.

By Denise Fedorow

GOSHEN — Veterans from all branches of the military services were honored Friday, Nov. 8, at St. John the Evangelist School in Goshen. The veterans were first recognized and applauded during the 8 a.m. Mass with the student body in attendance and were then invited to the school for a special program in their honor.

Roger Balyak of the Goshen Honor Guard told the students, veterans and others present, “This is one of two or three things we absolutely love to do. I can’t think of any other place I’d like to be except around veterans and church people. You people are special.”

He explained to the students that when a veteran passes and the flag is presented to the family, itß has 13 folds.

“The 13 folds are biblically based — the same religious principles on which this country was formed,” he said.

According to Balyak the first fold represents life, the second eternal life; the third honors the veteran who gave his or her life in the country’s defense. The fourth fold represents humanity’s weaker nature and reminds us to trust in God, the fifth fold is a tribute to the country; the sixth fold is where our heart lies, because no matter where in the world we may be it is with our heart that we pledge allegiance. The seventh fold is a tribute to the armed forces, the eighth is a tribute to the ones who entered the valley of the shadow of death and also to mothers, the ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood and the 10th is a tribute to fathers who also gave their sons and daughters. The 11th fold represents loyalty to the seal of Kings David and Solomon in the eyes of Hebrews and the 12th fold represents and embraces the Trinity — the Father, Son and Holy Spirit — in the eyes of Christians. The last fold, when the flag is completed, the stars are in the upper corner representing the motto, “In God we Trust.”

Fifth-grade students in Paula Gaylor’s class were asked to write an essay about Veteran’s Day. Four were chosen by staff and Principal Mattie Willerton to read their essays.

In her essay, Isabelle Thomas advised, “Let’s all stop for a minute and say a prayer for all of the men and women in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard, and that they return home with their families safely.”

Noemi Vela read that every single person in the U.S. should be proud they have veterans and she hopes one day to have peace in the world.

Cameron Schneider talked about his friend, Adam Mackowiak, who is currently serving. “He chose to do this. I always think about him and wonder what he’s doing. But I know he is keeping us from harm. One day I’ll be proud to wear the uniform.”

Brenton Pham’s essay reminded folks to appreciate what the veterans do. “The least we can do is thank them. They protect all of us. No harm will come to us because of the veterans.”

The Goshen honor guard and many veterans gave the students a standing ovation.

Ruth Newell’s third-grade class read a poem to the veterans. Fourth- and fifth-grade students served coffee, juice and cookies to the veterans and visitors.

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