BELLE FOURCHE — Belle Fourche Middle School students, and some kindergarteners, celebrated those who have sacrificed for our country Monday and paid homage to those who have served in the Armed Forces during its 23rd annual Veterans Day program.

Community members poured into the school gym where dozens of kindergarteners lined up to lead visitors in the Pledge of Allegiance and sing “God Bless America.”

The middle school band and choir performed a dozen patriotic songs and ceremonial recognitions. In addition, the seventh-grade program team performed a skit called “A Patriotic Year: Our American Observances & Holidays” in which the students explained the history of the patriotic holidays we observe each year.

Belle Fourche Middle School staff and students honored Monte Talkington, Vietnam veteran and Belle Fourche City Council president, by naming him this year’s “Outstanding Veteran Program Supporter.”

Reva Potter, a middle school teacher, said Talkington joined the Army in 1967 and was honorably discharged in 1969.

“He was in Vietman, (the) Tet Offensive, in the 1st Air Cavalry in communications,” Potter said. “He received many citations while serving his country including the Air Medal and the Bronze Star.”

“Mr. Talkington’s belief in service has continued long after his active duty,” Potter said. “He is an active member of numerous service organizations including the Lions Club and American Legion and our VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars).”

Potter said Talkington leads the Belle Fourche Honor Guard. 

“Our country has benefitted from Mr. Talkington’s service, our community has benefitted, and for many years now, our school has benefitted from his willingness to serve as a volunteer,” Potter said, adding that in addition to being a speaker at all four middle school grade level classrooms, Talkington has also participated in the school’s flag retirement services.

“Thank you so much Mr. Talkington,” Potter said. “Your contributions to our school Veterans Day activities have been invaluable.”

After the retirement of the colors, veterans and guests stayed and enjoyed a punch and cookie reception.

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