Students and faculty members at Marian Catholic High School, Hometown, took time from their academic schedules on Monday, Nov. 12, to pay tribute to America and its Armed Forces during a Veteran's Day Assembly held in the school gymnasium. Justen Hackenberg, was the keynote speaker for an audience of over 300.
Hackenberg is a 1991 graduate of Marian Catholic. He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point. Graduating from the academy in 1995, he was commissioned as an active duty Second Lieutenant in Armor. Following gradation, he attended U.S. Army Airbone School at Fort Benning, Georgia, and received his jump wings. After Airbone School, Hackenberg was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division. From 1998 through 1999 he was deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina in peacekeeping operations.
In 2000, as a captain, he served in the Republic of South Korea as a 2nd Infantry Division Battle Captain and the Division Force Protection/Anti-terrorism Officer. He returned to the United States in 2001 to Fort Carson, Colorado, where he was stationed in 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division as the Brigade Plans Officer.
Deployed to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, he served as a tank company commander. In late 2003 he returned to the United States with other veterans to train reserve and National Guard units deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan. He left the service in 2006, at the rank of major, after 11 1/2 years of active duty service. His awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korea Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Meritorious Service Medal and Bronze Star.
Throughout the program, students of the diocesan high school offered several patriotic presentations, while remarks were offered by Sister Bernard Agnes, IHM school principal. Musical selections were offered by the Marian High School Band.
Students who participated in the ceremonies included: Nicholas Mayernik, master of ceremonies; Michael McHale, who delivered a students' view of Veteran's Day; Joseph Letcher, who provided the history of Veteran's Day ; Amanda Srinivasan, who offered the history of the American Flag; and Ryan Darrough, who recited "In Flander's Field." "Taps" was played by Christopher Postupack, followed by a moment of silence in memory of departed veterans.
The session closed with Sister Bernard Agnes, IHM, pronouncing the benediction and the playing of the Marian Alma Mater.