MONTE VISTA - Around 100 flags where hung in Monte Vista on Veterans Day. They were placed up and down Adams Street and along Highway 160 starting at Dairy Queen and ending at the Shell Station. For the last 40 years the Monte Vista Kiwanis Club has been putting the flags out. However, they recently disbanded the Monte Vista Kiwanis Club after 91 years due to a dwindling number of members. The Kiwanis Club in Center has taken over the project and made sure that it happened again this year.
A group of eight people got up early and put the flags out for Veterans Day Nov. 11. The COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have made large gatherings difficult this year. Many regular ceremonies and parades have either been canceled or look different in 2020. But the flag placement was able to still be the same and held special significance this year. Allowing the community to still show their appreciation and honor for veterans amid the difficulty of 2020.
The Kiwanis Club has put out the flags every year for Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, 4th of July, Labor Day and 9/11. They also put the flags out during Stampede. “This is something that we have done for a long time and we just feel good setting out the flags to honor our veterans and to honor our town. For people coming through they see these flags and it means a lot. We’ve been doing this for years and we don’t think this is a job we just see it as an honor to put up the flags,” said Wayne Wittner who is a veteran himself and came out to help. Wittner served in the U.S. Marine Corps for three years. Serving in the Philippines and Hawaii. During that time, he also served as a field radio operator.
Wittner’s son Art Wittner is also a veteran and came to help place the flags for veteran’s day. He served in the Navy for six years. He started out as a search and rescue swimmer, went to Warrant Officer school and then started flying helicopters.
Dick Ramstetter is another veteran who came out to help. Ramstetter served at Fort Campbell Kentucky with the U.S. Army 101st Airborne. During his time, he made 54 paratrooper jumps. Ramstetter served there for almost four years. “There were 12,000 of us living on the airfield all ready to go. In less than two hours we all would have been in Cuba. There were 400 aircraft sitting on the Fort Campbell strip. Just lined up ready to go,” remembered Ramstetter.
The 100 flags hung in Monte Vista are owned by the Kiwanis Club and they also store and maintain all of the flags. The Center Kiwanis club currently has around 18 members. Many members from the Monte Vista Kiwanis Club having joined after theirs disbanded. When they place the flags, they also often receive a lot of help from 4-H members from clubs around the Valley. None of them were able to come Wednesday however since it was a school day.