Thank you, veterans

America tipped its hat in unity this week, thanking any and all who are now or have ever worn a United States military uniform.
That sense of unity in and of itself is so powerful, especially at a time when our nation tends to focus more on our philosophical differences. The one thing it seems that we as a nation almost consistently agree on is standing united in support of our veterans, as we should.
I get goose bumps whenever a crowd comes to its feet as one to salute the men and women who have served on our behalf. Whether it’s at a Veteran’s Day program, sporting event, county fair, A’ROR’N Days parade, Husker game or whatever, that sense of patriotism and shared support gets me every time. It makes me proud to be an American.
The News-Register shared a community thank you to veterans in last week’s edition, also giving one proud Navy vet a chance to share memories of his time in uniform. Art Van Luchene’s story was reflective of so many others we have heard and shared, in that he was proud of his service and would answer the call again today if he would and could.
Sharing those memories of a time in life when they put themselves in harm’s way, no matter how many years ago it happened, is such a key piece of what Veteran’s Day has become over the years. For whatever reason, many veterans are hesitant to share their stories in detail, wanting to remain humble and not draw the spotlight when they know that others gave as much, if not more, with so many paying the ultimate sacrifice. And yet, those stories need and deserve to be told, remembered, documented and passed on to the next generation of family, friends and neighbors.
This week’s edition shares several stories about Veteran’s Day programs in the area, as well as a Quilt of Valor ceremony. It’s important not only for veterans to be handed a microphone, but for all of us to really listen and take to heart the messages they have to share.
What’s important is that veterans know their service is appreciated, whether they were on the front lines of battle or stateside handling whatever responsibilities they were given. Regardless of the role, all served their nation and made personal sacrifices. We owe them a genuine salute, and an ear if they have the time and desire to share their service memories.
We salute you!
Kurt Johnson

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