West: November a great month in Cannon Co.

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November is quite a month in Cannon County. Let us discuss just a couple of events from this busy month ... one recently past and the other quickly approaching.

Veterans Day, really is more of a Veterans Week, is a major remembrance in Cannon County. Really, it is tough to capture all of the events for the newspaper.

Our schools are filled with events, posters and displays honoring Cannon County's veterans. That's especially true at Cannon County High School where the inspiration continues to grow. Last Friday, CCHS set aside the day to pay tribute to Cannon's veterans. That one event took weeks of planning and coordination from administrators, faculty and community volunteers.

It culminated in a 21/2 hour memorial that packed the gym with students, teachers and visitors. Recounting all the special moments are impossible for a newspaper. The best we can do is just hit the highlights that ran the range from laughter to tears. Sure, some of the meeting seemed silly like the bearded young man dressed up like Uncle Sam until emcee Col. Jim Stone told the significance of his achievement. It was a program crowded with touching moments like the sons of the late Frank Walkup III quietly paying memorial to their father who suddenly died from a heart attack.

Walkup was a huge man in both size and spirit.

While in the military, Walkup served in important roles including on the staff of Maj.Gen. John Abrams, but if you asked him, his most important achievement was raising a house full of boys. Those boys are why he ran for a position on the Cannon County School Board.

The program was full of lessons like that including the terrible experiences of Korean War veteran Louis Hillis, who was a Prisoner of War. Hillis' story still moves him to tears when talking about burying his fellow soldiers killed after capture by the North Koreans some 50-plus years ago. Only 9 out of 108 me survived that encounter and Louis lost 63 pounds during his months of capture.

It was a long program at the high school but most of the students listened intently and met the comments and speeches intently with applause and occasional cheers. Despite the occasional fumble it was a moving, thoughtful tribute.

Following the speech-making, the students got to invite veterans to their classrooms for more discussion. The youngsters also got to see exhibits of military machinery, while the veterans had to the chance to meet with military officials about benefits and even lost or misplaced medals and citations.
The parade followed on Saturday. It was a perfect day for such an event and a nice break from the seriousness of Friday.

That takes us to another major event set for this weekend. While Cannon Country Christmas might seem frivolous in comparison to Veterans Day, it is a highlight of the local year.

While it gives local merchants a chance to show off their holiday finery, it more importantly provides fun for Cannon (and surrounding counties) youngsters.
Fun? Where else in the world can you ride a mule-pulled wagon along with Santa Claus? Or visit a newspaper office to write a special letter to Santa??
Come join the fun at Cannon County Country Christmas on the Square in Woodbury. Expect free food, drinks and drawings. Woodbury merchants will be open Friday from 10 a.m. til 9 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. til 5 p.m.

You can make a day of it and shop at all participating local stores on the Square for even more deals and goodies.

Mule-man Jimmy Simpson promises to have Santa in town to see all the children by 5 p.m. Friday. Following his wagon ride, Claus will be at Ethan's Custard and Chips on the Square for anyone wanting to stop by and have their picture made with Santa!

It is a great way to start off the Christmas season! HO, HO, HO!

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Mike West
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