Salute to Veterans and Their Families in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas
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In Hot Springs Village, the morning of November 11, 2022, was one of a flurry of focused activity as final preparations were made for the 25th (approximately) Village Veterans memorial event. To add to the hustle and bustle, the electricity at the Woodlands Auditorium was temporarily out of service, and hasty preparations were made to hold the event outside in the porte-cochère, located between The Woodlands and the Ponce de Leon Center. As veterans and the POA are not among those who give up easily, HSVPOA staff had even gone so far as to set up the seating outside and prepare the area for the presentation. Colonel Keith Keck said, “about eight o’clock this morning, it was basically FUBAR.” Keck thanked GM Kelly Hale and all of the POA staff, including Terry Wiley, Mike Sykora, and others, for quickly setting up outside. Fortunately, grace and blessings were bestowed with the electrical service being restored in time for the event.
For the sixth time, Colonel Keith Keck performed the Master of Ceremonies duties. The theme of this year’s ceremony was Southwest Asia military operations with recognition of veterans from Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The Colonel acknowledged the presence of the three local schools, Jessieville, Fountain Lake, and Mountain Pine, and thanked the Village General Manager again for his facilitation of the event.
Reverend Douglas Walker gave the Veterans Day Prayer asking, “Father, today we ask that you bless Veterans, everywhere…We can look at Veterans and see the love they have for this country and one another and, in some way, get a glimpse of the love you have for us. “
Jessieville Choir gave a heartwarming performance of “All Gave Some and Some Gave All,” “Rise Up,” and “The Star Spangled Banner” “and Fountain Lake students shared their reflections on Veterans and Veterans Day.
The audience stood as Commander Larry Bauer led the Color Guard in presenting the colors before Keck gave a presentation of the new brick installation and the HSV Memorial Project.
Treble in the Village sang “God Bless America,” “This is My Country,” and the “Armed Forces Medley,” with the Veterans joining in on the last song. Treble in the Village consists of Sharon (Bass), Kathy (Tenor), Patty (Lead), and Kristi (Baritone).
Keck introduced guest speaker, VFW/AM Legion Post Commander Dominic Listermann (and his wife), who moved to Hot Springs Village in 2019 after serving as an Intelligence Professional in the northern Virginia area. Keck said, “Dominic has served both in the Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy Reserve, serving in Desert Shield and Desert Storm. “Commander Listerman is recognized as a business coach and trainer, helping individuals and organizations build high-performance teams and delivering excellent results,” explained Keck.
Listermann began by saying, “no matter what challenge we face, we will rise up.” He then went through some memorial events in his life and in his military service.
Listermann explained that there can be confusion between Memorial Day and Veterans Day, with the purpose of the former being to remember those who have given everything. “They have given their lives.” Veterans Day is a celebration of everyone who has served, who will serve, and those still serving.
PLEDGE is an acronym that Listerman came up with in the early 2000s and means:
- Proactive – step up and take action
- Encourage one another
- Diverse – we don’t care what age you are, where you served, what era, what branch of service
- Generous – “We are generous with our time and talents.”
Listermann said, “we are not a perfect nation, but I believe we are the best nation.”
A Moment of Silence in “Remembrance of All Veterans Who Are No Longer With Us” preceded the Honor Guard Salute, again led by Commander Larry Bauer, and Echo Taps by Jim Kelly and Jeff Olson. Mark Klemann and Julie Keck performed the Tolling of the Bells.
Immediately following the event, all Veterans and their families were invited to a tasty lunch cookout provided by the Rotary Club of Hot Springs Village, whose motto is “Service Above Self.” The Veterans group enjoyed grilled hamburgers with all the fixings, chips, and cookies for dessert.
The event was recorded and is included at the bottom of this article. Feel free to share this video with anyone you feel may enjoy it. Thanks for reading.
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By Cheryl Dowden; Photography and videography by Joe Dowden
Event Sponsoring Organizations
- HSV American Legion Post 0123
- HSV Military Officers Association of America
- HSV Rotary Club
- HSV Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 10483
Event Supporting Organizations
- Military Order of the Purple Heart
- Arkansas Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution