Veterans Day events listedFor many years, the Hastings American Legion Post 47 and the VFW Lyle Russell Post 1210 have hosted a celebratory dinner every year on Veterans Day. The dinner will be held again this year at the National Guard Armory, but it will look a little different. Restored military vehicles from World War II and the Korean War will be on display, as well as one or two modern vehicles.
By: Katrina Styx, The Hastings Star-Gazette
For many years, the Hastings American Legion Post 47 and the VFW Lyle Russell Post 1210 have hosted a celebratory dinner every year on Veterans Day. The dinner will be held again this year at the National Guard Armory, but it will look a little different. Restored military vehicles from World War II and the Korean War will be on display, as well as one or two modern vehicles.
“It’s never been done before and we just thought it would be kind of a treat for a lot of the older vets, where they can see some of those restored vehicles,” said Dianne Metcalf, commander of the American Legion Post 47.
The idea formed last summer at Rivertown Days. Metcalf said she had seen a group of young adults dressed in 1940s outfits and driving an old World War II Jeep. The women were in 1940s dresses, while the men were in World War II uniforms. Metcalf approached them and found out that they were heavily interested in the history of that period. The group restores old vehicles and periodically get together for historical reenactments or shows in the area.
“It’s just so fun talking to them because they’re so interested in this and you don’t find young people like that who are interested in World War II and Korea,” Metcalf said.
Metcalf suggested the group bring the vehicles to the downtown Cruise-In car shows, which they did. Then she asked if they would bring the vehicles to the dinner, and again they agreed.
Metcalf is expecting four or five World War II vehicles, one or two from Korea and one or two modern vehicles. They will all be parked inside on the armory drill floor for viewing during the social hour. Metcalf said she’s hoping the vehicles’ owners will also dress up for the event.
Part of the reason for holding the Veterans Day dinner is to give veterans in Hastings a chance to come together and share their stories, Metcalf said, and the vehicles should only encourage that.
“It’s important, I think, for those people to stay connected,” she said.
Of course, the biggest reason behind the dinner is to honor those men and women who have served in the U.S. military.
“They have sacrificed so much, their families have sacrificed so much, and we have freedom in this country because of our military,” Metcalf said. “And there aren’t a lot of countries in the world that can say that.”
The dinner event begins with a social hour at 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 12, at the National Guard Armory, 3050 Red Wing Blvd. Seating for the traditional roast beef dinner will begin at 6 p.m. Following the dinner, Larry Shellito will speak. Shellito is the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Veteran Affairs. He is a retired major general, was the adjutant general of the Minnesota National Guard and is a veteran of the Vietnam War.
Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance from the American Legion Post 47, located at 50 Sibley St., and the VFW meeting space, located at 275 W. 33rd St. Some tickets will be available at the door. The cost goes primarily to cover the cost of the food.
Other Veterans Day events
Several other opportunities to honor veterans in Hastings are also planned.
• The Minnesota Veterans Home in Hastings will host a Veterans Day event Sunday, Nov. 11, at 10 a.m. in the auditorium. The keynote speaker will be Major Kent Porter of the Minnesota National Guard. This event is open to the public.
• Kennedy Elementary School, located at 1176 Tyler St., will honor veterans with a special ceremony at 10:30 a.m. Monday, Nov. 12. Hastings elementary principals Matt Esterby, Roger Esser and Diane Smith will extend their greetings and fourth grade students will offer their salutes. Hastings Mayor Paul Hicks will speak.
• The Coliseum, located at 1804 Vermillion St., will hold Operation Christmas from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10. The day includes meat raffles, a silent auction, $10 endless chili bowls and entertainment.
All proceeds will be sent in the form of care packages filled with Christmas gifts and necessities to the members of 1/11 Sierra Battery who will be spending their holidays in a war zone. For further information, contact Taylor Haskell at Tzetwick2011@gmail.com or call 437-9083.
• St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School, 600 Tyler St., will honor veterans at its 9:30 a.m. Mass Wednesday, Nov. 14. Fourth- grade students have sent invitations to veterans.
The school’s Patriot Pen essay winner will give his/her speech on “What I would tell America’s Founding Fathers.”
• Additional displays about veterans are at Pleasant Hill Library and LeDuc Historic Estate.
• The Classic Rosewood Inn and Spa spreads its gratitude throughout the year by giving free overnight stays to local soldiers. For more information, call 651-437-3297.