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Veterans commended
for service and dedication

by Kim Fickett
Landmark reporter

A profound sense of patriotism filled the gymnasium of North Platte High School on Monday afternoon at the sixth annual salute to veterans program.

With Veterans Day marking the two month anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, the day honoring those in the armed forces who have fought for our freedom and nation heightened Americans sense of pride and love for the United States and patriotic freedoms.

"I feel September 11 has brought on a renewed spirit of patriotism and made us reflect on what veterans have given for our country," said Ron Green, high school principal and reservist and veteran of the Vietnam War.
Monday brought that renewed spirit with veterans, families, community members and students from North and West Platte School Districts to recognize the men and women of our country who have fought and are fighting for our daily freedoms.

Approximately 200 people from Platte County to Liberty to Kansas attended this year's program. "It's the largest crowd we've ever had. It's everything we hoped it would work into," stated Green.

For the first time in the six years of the assembly, North Platte High School was joined by the elementary and intermediate students of North Platte and the junior high and high school student body of West Platte.

Green explained that the significance of holding the program is to not only remember the veterans but bring awareness of our nations history and freedoms to the students.

"We don't ever want our students at North Platte to forget the basic freedoms we have. It's important to realize that those freedoms were paid for in some way, whether with a portion of their life or with their whole life," said Green.

This year's guest speaker was Col. Jon H. Moilanen, dean of students and administration at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.

Moilanen shared with those in attendance personal connections of family members who devoted a portion of their life to serve the United States of America. With tears in his eyes and a knot in this throat he reflected on his grandfather, father, uncles and cousin, "who was a childhood idol", as well as others, who gave just one piece of their life to defend the freedoms we honor today.

"Lest we forget to be a part of American heritage. Veterans, we value your selfish duty to our nation, veterans we honor you and thank you," stated Moilanen.

Pictures of the ceremony can be found elsewhere in this issue of The Landmark.