The Patriotic Program at Millennium Plaza in Michigan City assisted many individuals in understanding just how our small towns operate on their own slice of freedom.
“This is a wonderful time for our communities to come together and celebrate those who serve and have fought for our country. Everyone has an important story that should be passed on to our younger generations to preserve patriotism and the pride we share as a united people,” said Mayor Ron Meer. “Justine Venice has really done a nice job chairing this great event.”
Rich Mrozinski, Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post #9423 from Rolling Prairie, began the morning festivities as the Master of Ceremonies who announced each individual speaking and respected presentation. Prayers were then lead by Ted Yagelski from the American Legion Post #451.
The public sang “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” and “America the Beautiful” alongside The Exchange Club Chorus and “The Star Spangled Banner” was also sung by Chad Holm. Senator Jim (James) Arnold also helped The Exchange Club Chorus with the extended intro to “America the Beautiful”.
“The lyrics to the songs that we perform are a remembrance of what everyone went through while serving. We remind the community of the sacrifices that their family members, friends, and neighbors make for our freedom,”Bob Johnson from the Exchange Club Chorus said.
Both the Michigan City High School’s Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) under the leadership of Major Tom McGrath and the Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) Honor Guard supervised by Richard Nalls highly regarded the Presentation of the Colors; these troops presented and retired the colors to the public.
“The men and women of the IDOC enter and reintegrate into the community with the help of those who work for the Indiana State Prison. The Presentation of the Colors is very patriotic to me and everyone who serves currently or has served our country,”Richard Nalls, Commander of the IDOC said. “We also present this program of honor to our prison and in downstate Indianapolis as well.”
Nalls then went on to thank Michigan City and Justine Venice for allowing the Indiana Department of Corrections to be a part of the Patriotic Program. Tina Hill, 2nd in Command of the IDOC, was also present celebrating the nation’s independence.
Mayor Ron Meer spoke to the community about the importance of our younger generations learning from veterans and current service men and women. The Patriot Medal, which symbolizes loyalty, strength, virtue, purity, freedom, courage, honor, duty, the four corners of the world, and the four points on a compass, was also awarded to two honorary veterans. Afterwards, VFW Post #2536, the American Legion Post #451, and combined Honor Guard fired a salute to independence and freedom.
“There is always something to be learned about our country. We honor the people who have served and are currently away from their families and putting their lives on hold to make sure our country is safe. It’s all about the rights we have and the people who make sure we keep those rights,” Senator Jim Arnold said.
Arnold has lived in Michigan City all of his life and has never been disappointed in any of the town’s events; they are always worth remembering much like those who serve.
Participants included: Chief Joshua Janney representing the U.S. Coast Guard along with the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Post #23, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post #2536, the American Legion Post #37, and the American Legion Post #451.
A special thanks also goes out to Fly ‘Em High for their flags, Bill Russell and Kevin Blacksten for the wonderful sound system, and Senator Jim Arnold for handing out flags to the public.