To commemorate South Dakota’s Purple Heart Recognition Day, De Smet’s American Legion Post 138 hosted a ceremony in the theater of the De Smet Event and Wellness Center on Aug. 7 at 1 p.m. A good turnout of local residents came to pay their respects to those from our nation’s military who have earned this medal.
The event kicked off with a welcome by Legion member Gary Schumacher, followed by the posting of the American and Legion flags by Post 138’s Color Guard, which included Post Commander Harvey Hubbard and Gary Wolkow. Cliff Poppen gave the invocation, and Jenni Karlen sang the national anthem.
Following the Pledge of Allegiance, Legion member Seth Wallen explained the tradition of the POW/MIA table, one of which was set up in front of the stage. Schumacher then introduced Ken Teunissen, the keynote speaker, who recounted the history of the Purple Heart medal for those in attendance. Teunissen asked any Purple Heart recipients in attendance to stand, and three men rose to be recognized by the crowd.
After Teunissen’s speech, Poppen gave the benediction, and the Post’s Color Guard “retired the colors.” Immediately following the ceremony, the attendees were invited to stay and enjoy cake and beverages. The cake was decorated with frosting depicting the Purple Heart medal.
The entire ceremony lasted just over a half hour and was well received by those in attendance. The hope is that this was the first of many annual ceremonies to recognize these heroes, and that the audience in attendance will continue to grow year after year.
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