Veterans Day program filled with meaning of leadership

Jordan Gerard

The annual Veterans Day program at Spring Grove Public School on Monday, Nov. 11, was an example of how to set leadership and be a good leader.

Girls State representative Emily Myrah talked about her experience at Girls State, a citizenship event sponsored by the American Legion and Legion Auxiliary. 

After years of listening to previous speakers on the experience, Myrah said she didn’t seriously consider it until her second semester as a junior. Trusting in herself and the power of social studies teacher Al Lochner’s government classes, she wrote a paragraph about what citizenship meant to her and was chosen for Girls State.

“The first day there, we got acquainted with our roommates. It was a little nerve-wracking to do that,” she said. “We soon became really good friends.”

Myrah’s city was Cardinal, where she was elected as a council member and was also chosen to lead the nightly discussion with her group after the day’s events.

On the third day, they elected delegates to attend the county convention and got to hear from both political parties they formed for Girls State.

“It broadens both parties’ perspectives to hear from each other,” she said. “It’s not just your party, it’s also another party.”

While attending Girls State, the group also learned proper flag etiquette, sang a few songs in the courtyard of the veterans memorial for missing military personnel and for Minnesota residents who served or are serving in the military. 

More exciting memories include seeing a Minnesota Supreme Court judge swear in the candidates who were elected to offices such as governor. Speaking of governors, Gov. Tim Walz also paid a visit to Girls State and talked about his journey to becoming governor. 

Myrah said her favorite day was Capitol Day, when the group visited the building and also sang songs around the star. People came out from their offices to listen to the songs, she added. 

Later, mock court trials were held, where Myrah was the bailiff for her city. On the last night, they held a talent show, and then it was time to say goodbye.

“It’s really hard to say goodbye to the friends I made because you don’t expect to get close to the people you’re staying with,” she said. 

She also enjoyed listening to panels such as the law and order panel.

“Girls State really changed me for the better,” she said. 

She thanked the American Legion Post 249 and Legion Auxiliary for the opportunity to attend Girls State.

Captain Charles C. Calvo

Captain Charles C. Calvo talked about his time in the military and how leadership was a constant subject to think about.

“Veterans Day has a lot to do with leadership,” he said. “When you’re in the military thinking about the future, about 90% of your time is spent thinking about leadership.”

He added leadership is also the ability to get people to do what you want and encouraged the audience to think about it when they see people in uniform. 

One major component of leadership was servitude. Servitude and leadership were two of the reasons why infantry officers and generals eat last, he said, because soldiers were off doing important things while officers could make important decisions about the future that could affect their unit or country.

Calvo told the audience the seven Army or military values he was taught in basic training. Loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage and explained each one.

“Your soldiers have to feel like they’re following someone they trust,” he said. 

Calvo’s favorite part of Veterans Day was understanding the uniform represents “all of us.”

“It’s nothing to do whether or not you served in an Army uniform, they’re just values,” he said of the military values. “It comes down to servitude for me. Happy Armistice Day. Happy Veterans Day.”

Calvo is currently an Army Reservist serving the United States European Command (EUCOM) at Fort Snelling, Minnesota. 

Calvo was formerly a Foreign Service Officer with the United States Department of State where he served in both Washington, D.C., and the Middle East. Calvo was as active duty infantryman with the United States Army from 2006 until 2011, and completed one combat deployment to Mosul, Iraq. 

Calvo is a graduate of the United States Army Airborne School, and the recipient of the Bronze Star and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. 

Calvo and his wife, Carrie, jointly own and operate Owl Bluff Organic Farm in Black Hammer Township.

Quilts of Honor

The Piecemakers Quilt Guild presented nine local veterans with quilts created from their members. Barb Solum encouraged the audience if they knew someone who was a veteran and needed a quilt to contact her.

Receiving quilts this year were Robert Karlsbroten, Gary Kroshus, Dawn Hansen, Roger Stenhoff, Corey Kampschroer, Mark Munson, Sherry Ingvalson, Anne Doering and Christian Myrah.