REXBURG – The Rexburg Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring two separate events on Friday to honor local veterans and kick off the holiday season.
The first event is the annual Veterans Day ceremony at Madison High School. The hour-long program will begin at 9 a.m. in the gym.
Chamber President Janalyn Holt tells EastIdahoNews.com there will be a variety of speakers, musical performances and a video presentation.
The event will begin with a flag ceremony and the Pledge of Allegiance. VFW Post 3012 will play the taps and the Madison High School Choir will sing the National Anthem.
Retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonel Robert Jones will then give some remarks.
“This is … a day to honor and remember those who sacrificed for us, and those who continue to pay the ultimate price to defend our freedoms and liberty,” Jones writes in the program provided by the Chamber.
Jones was on active duty during multiple conflicts, including Vietnam, Korea and in Operation Desert Storm in the Middle East during the Gulf War. He references his military service in these wars, noting the fact he is still alive is “living testimony that my faith in our country and my faith in God were not in vain.”
“Our fallen heroes still whisper to us from the grave. If we listen carefully, we can hear the muffled sounds of their call to arms in defense of our nation. This same spirit of freedom is carried in the wind and echoes down through the ages,” Jones writes, including “in the faces of our citizens in polling places on Election Day.”
The Rexburg Women’s Choir will sing “God Bless America” following his remarks. After a wreath ceremony from the Chamber, there will be a video presentation highlighting moments in U.S. History accompanied with a performance of “Hymn to the Fallen” from the Madison Performing Arts choir, band and orchestra.
A student council member will provide an explanation of the service hymns prior to the high school band’s performance of those hymns. Brandon Tighe, Chairman of the Rexburg Chamber board, will provide some closing remarks and the high school band will conclude the event with a performance of “America the Beautiful.”
“John Bagley from the Legacy Flight Museum is going to bring one or two military vehicles to park out in front (of the school) so that when people come, we immediately get that sense of what we’re there for,” Holt says. “We hope that our veterans come and feel appreciated (by the community).”
‘Twas the month before Christmas
Then at 1 p.m., the Chamber is inviting Rexburg and the surrounding communities to join them for “‘Twas the month before Christmas” at the Atrium in Hemming Village. The purpose is to kick off and promote a day of Christmas shopping at local businesses.
“Christmastime is a wonderful time to shop and it’s even more wonderful when it’s convenient and easy,” says Holt.
Eighteen different businesses in town will be offering deals and discounts until 8 p.m. specifically for this event. Among them are Fat Cats, Holidae Fun & Games, Ace Hardware, Madison Armory, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Rustic Floral and Gifts, Namaste Wellness Spa and Salon, and more.
Holidae Fun & Games is a toy and game store that opened at 435 West 2nd South earlier this year after opening a Rigby location last year. Owner Jennifer Smith says the Rexburg store is more focused on game rentals and describes it as “the Blockbuster of games.”
The store is offering free board game rental coupons during Friday’s event and Smith is excited to be part of it.
“We’re excited that the Chamber is starting a new event. We’re happy to support showing off some of the great mom and pop shops of Rexburg and help the community to shop local,” she says.
Santa and Mrs. Claus will be at Hemming Village from 4 to 8 p.m. with cookies and hot chocolate provided by local businesses. There will also be live music throughout the day.
Holt hopes it’s a fun, pre-Christmas event for those who attend.
“Christmas is an exciting time of year. Come and kick it off in November with us,” Holt says.