Friday a day to remember our veterans

Two Lincoln events honor military personnel
By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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At 11 minutes past 11 a.m. Nov. 11 (Friday), those who have served in the United States military will be honored throughout the country. Local veterans will be recognized at two events Friday in Lincoln. American Legion Post 264 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3010, both from Lincoln, will throw a joint Veterans Day ceremony, starting at 11:11 a.m. Friday in front of the Veterans Memorial Hall (541 Fifth St). That’s according to Veterans of Foreign War post commander Kent Parsell, who said Friday’s ceremony will include singing of the “Star Spangled Banner,” a speech and a 21-gun salute. Veterans Day was once called Armistice Day, Parsell explained. “On Nov. 11, 1918, an armistice was signed to end World War I,” Parsell said. “After World War II, that didn’t make sense. They (government) wanted to honor veterans of both wars but they kept the date and time.” Veterans Day honors all those that have served in the military, not just those who have served in a war, according to Parsell. “On Memorial Day, we remember those who died in service,” Parsell said. “On Veterans Day, we remember all of those who served the country.” Every year on Veterans Day, Parsell said, the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign War pick a different group to honor. This year, women in the military will be honored. “We have a female member who is a veteran of World War II, who is going to speak of women who served in the military,” said American Legion Post 264 Commander Bob Bruce. “Lillian Sprague offered to speak.” Women in the military, Bruce said, “have not really been recognized.” “We really need to acknowledge their contribution,” Bruce said. “I think they have had a much more active role. They are, by law, not authorized to be in combat zones but they are in aviation, flying in the Air Force and flying helicopters in the Army.” In Lincoln Hills, a ceremony will be at 11 a.m. in the Orchard Creek Ballroom of the Orchard Creek Lodge (965 Orchard Creek Lane). The Lincoln Hills Veterans Group organized the ceremony, according to member Steve Witmer. “We are going to have the Roseville Community Concert Band playing and we will also have the Lincoln Hills Singers,” Witmer said. “This year, we tried to involve the community as much as we could and we are having the Twelve Bridges Elementary school choir come over and sing a couple of songs.” The News Messenger asked Parsell, Bruce and Witmer why Lincoln residents should observe Veterans Day. “It’s an opportunity for them to come out and recognize the veterans they know. If they are veterans, it’s an opportunity for them to come out and accept the appreciation of all the people that are there,” said Witmer, who served in the Air Force. “We maintained our country’s freedom since 1776 and we’ve preserved the union. They (veterans) have created a safe homeland for all of our citizens and continue to be dedicated.” Bruce, who served in the Army, said it’s a day “remembering everybody who served in the past and who is serving now.” “It’s recognizing their sacrifices and accomplishments,” Bruce said. Parsell, who served in the Army during the Vietnam War, said it’s a “chance to think back” about his family members who served. After the Vietnam War, Parsell said, “people take a lot more care in recognizing those who have served.” “They take part of their life and give it in service to their country,” said Parsell about veterans. “I remember I asked my cousin why he volunteered to go in the Army and he answered, ‘I’ve spent all my life living in this country and partaking in the benefits of this country. It’s not to much to ask to serve a couple of years.’”