Major Keith Altenhofen Memorial Flag Pole Dedication
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” ― Fred Rogers
I’ve always loved this quote by Mr. Rogers. The practice of looking for the helpers has become a daily ritual for me as I scroll the social media feeds or watch the news. Sometimes the helpers are hidden in the story, but there are always helpers. These are the people we should be celebrating. We’ve heard enough about protests and anti-American actions… Here’s a story of a helper and a hero.
Ben Shinkwin is a Junior at Central Catholic High School. For his Eagle Scout project, Ben installed a new flag pole at CCHS’s David Patton Field in honor of CC Alum Major Keith Altenhofen. Ben orchestrated the entire project including planning, financing (from generous donations of cash, good and services,) installation as well as a beautiful dedication ceremony that was held last night during a home game for the CC Raiders.
This was one of those “you should have been there” moments. There was a different energy at the stadium last night. Everyone who witnessed the events of the dedication ceremony couldn’t help but be moved by the work of Ben Shinkwin honoring the ultimate sacrifice of Major Altenhofen.
There were words of prayer, recognition and gratitude but it was the sound of Taps and our National Anthem that brought silence to the crowd out of respect and honor for our tradition. We witnessed the honor guard present the massive flag which was raised and lowered to half-staff in memoriam. That beautiful flag billowed and waved against the magnificent backdrop of a summer evening just past sunset. Every one was on their feet, eyes upward on single airplane that flew over the field. Every. One.
I’m weary of the stories of the malefactors around us. I will celebrate the heroes and the helpers. The video below is the full version from Facebook Live. Please excuse the shaky hand... The videographer was a bit emotional.