Americanism Program celebrated with devout patriotism

The 50th Americanism Program celebrated American Milestones on February 24 with a well-attended crowd at the Longfellow Gym in Baker.



Photos by Darlene Hornung



Posted February 28, 2014

By Lori Kesinger

The 50th Americanism Program celebrated American Milestones on February 24 with a well-attended crowd at the Longfellow Gym in Baker.

Russ Stoddard, Master of Ceremonies, emceed the heartfelt patriotic program. Presentation of the Colors was done by the American Legion and Ladies’ Auxillary, and the Baker High School Choir sang “Pledge of Allegiance” and “Star Spangled Banner”.

Pastor Rod Kilsdonk gave the invocation and benediction. Brenda Stoddard welcomed and summarized the milestones being celebrated this year, which include the 85-100th Anniversary of Gold Star Mothers, 100th Anniversary of Charity Chapter Eastern Star, 100th Anniversary of Sandstone Lodge, 125th Anniversary of the State of Montana and the 200th Anniversary of the “Star Spangled Banner”.

A special presentation was given by Christine Bestgen, the president of South Dakota Gold Star Mothers. Bestgen’s son Spc. Dennis Jensen died from injuries sustained in a construction accident in Afghanistan in 2011. Bestgen oversees the South Dakota Fallen Heroes traveling banners program, which are picture banners to memorialize the lives of military service members. She also decided to assist in educating people about the Honor and Remember flag, not only in South Dakota, but in North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. The flag is being proposed as the national emblem to honor fallen military. The flag is red and white with a gold star, red flame, and folded flag, and bears the words “Honor and Remember”. Every detail on the honor and Remember flag symbolizes an important part of the overall flag. The “Red Field” represents the blood spilled by servicemen and women in all of America’s military history. The “Blue Star” represents active service in military conflict. The “White Border” surrounding the gold star recognizes the purity of sacrifice. The “Gold Star” signifies that the ultimate sacrifice of one’s life was paid, and gold reflects the value of the life that was given. “Gold Star” is also a military designation where a gold-colored star is displayed on a service flag to indicate that a member of one’s family was killed in conflict as a member of the armed forces. The “Folded Flag” signifies the final tribute to an individual life that was sacrificed, and the “Flame” is an eternal reminder of the spirit that has departed, yet burns on in the memories of those who knew fallen hero.

The Baker High School Band gave an excellent performance of “Stars and Stripes Forever” and “Patriotic Sing-Along”, and Russ Stoddard gave a tribute to Montana Soldiers.

The O’Fallon Men’s Choir sang “There Will Be Peace” and gave their rendition of “This Flag We Fly” with flag-waving Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

Jan Townsend, Worthy Matron Eastern Stars, gave the closing followed by the Retiring of the Colors by the American Legion. Refreshments were served and a special thanks given to those serving and those who have served in the military.