BALDWIN — Staff and students from Baldwin Community Schools came together to present a stirring Veterans Day program for local veterans and community members on Monday morning in the high school gym.

After the opening flag ceremony by the Lake County Honor Guard and a rendering of "Star-Spangled Banner" by the Baldwin High School Choir, Superintendent Richard Heitmeyer welcomed the audience.

"Veterans Day is a time we celebrate all the members of the military," Heitmeyer said. "A simple thank you anytime of the year is a great way to show appreciation. With great pride we wish them all a great Veterans Day — our heroes everyday."

Seventh-grade students Cassidy Moser and Kelsie Hayter presented "The Purpose of Veterans Day," speaking about the history of how the holiday was formed and touching on this being the 100th-year anniversary of the ending of World War I.

Music teacher, Julie Sherlock, then led the Baldwin Elementary Honors Choir in song selections, "A Grateful Nation" and "This is America."

Tenth-grader Kendra Washington, class president, introduced guest speaker Doug Harrison, member of the Lake County Honor Guard who served in the U.S. Air Force, retiring as master sergeant.

"Thank you for the heartfelt songs you presented today," he told the students. "What do you think it would be like to be in the military? There are a wide variety of jobs you can chose from. They don't have to be combat. The key is to know what is available. Talk to a recruiter. If you choose to go on overseas assignments, you can form bonds with people you work with. Everyone sticks close together. If you want to make a difference in the world, think about joining the military."

When the guest speaker completed his talk, band director Ryan Tebo led the Baldwin High School Band in "Freedom Finale," an arrangement highlighting familiar patriotic tunes.

VFW Post No. 5315 Post Commander David Woodman then presented the Patriot's Pen essay winners, a national essay contest for middle-schoolers.

"We had 14 students participate in the Patriot's Pen essay contest, the most we've had submit essays. Judges read through these essays and winners qualify for district, state and national levels," he said. "This year's theme is 'Why I Honor the American Flag."'

Two Baldwin students read their winning essays. Destiny Weldon received third place, winning $45, and Briar Payne received second place, winning $75. The first place winner was Hannah Wisneski, who attends school elsewhere.

The program closed with a moment of silence, a performance of "Taps" and the Retiring of Colors from the Lake County Honor Guard.