Community honors Veterans with program

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - A day that started in 1918 as "Armistice Day", a day signifying the end of World War I which took affect on the 11th hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. During World War II, many countries changed the name of the holiday to Veterans Day.

Maywood Public Schools hosts at Veterans Day program Friday afternoon. (Source: Holly Barraclough, KNOP TV)

Friday, community members and students held a program at Maywood Public Schools to honor those Veterans.

The Maywood Public School band played the National Anthem at the opening followed by a presentation of the colors from Nebraska Veterans.

Gunnery Sergeant with the United States Marine Corps, Samuel Mortensen, gave a speech. He said many people get Veterans Day confused with other holidays.

"Veterans Day is often times confused with Memorial Day, Fourth of July and other patriotic holidays," said Mortensen,"I’ve been thanked for my service many times on Memorial Day and Fourth of July and such which I appreciate, but Memorial Day is a day to remember our fallen, both home and abroad, in peace and war and Independence Day is to remember our independence from England. Veterans Day is the day that we take to honor and remember all who have served and worn the uniform both living and deceased. Everyone of those individuals who has worn this uniform and stepped forward and offered their life for the service and defense of this country."

A ceremony was performed for those missing in action and prisoners of war. They said more than 85,000 Americans are still on accounted for from World War II Korea the Cold War Vietnam the gulf war Iraq and Afghanistan.

Their ceremony included. A small white table was set for one symbolizing the fact that members of our arm forces are missing from our ranks. They are referred to POWs and MIAs and had a special table set for them.

They said the white tablecloth is symbolic of the purity and intentions to respond to their countries call to arms. The table is set for one symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner alone. The single rose in the vase signifies the blood they have shed to sacrifice to endure the freedom of our beloved United States of America.

The slice of lemon on the plate is to remind us of their bitter faith those captured and missing in foreign lands. The salt sprinkled on the plate is to remind us of the countless tears of those who have never come home and the tears of their family members and friends whose grief knows no ends. The Bible serves to remind us of the comforts of faith offer to those who face insurmountable challenges. The glass is inverted they cannot toast with us tonight.

The candle is the remembrance of the light of hope which lives in our hearts to illuminate their way home away from their captors into the open arms of a grateful nation. The United States of America flag reminds us that many may never return and have paid the supreme sacrifice to enter our freedom. The flag of the veterans of foreign wars reminds us that our organization has full accountability for all who have not returned. The chair is empty they are not here.

Mortensen ended his speech by saying,"I want to say thank you to the veterans that are here today. My gratitude, our gratitude, for your service cannot be expressed in words. The heritage that you have passed on to the next generation of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airman is a debt that cannot be repaid. So thank you. to those of you who are considering military service a preemptive thank you it’s your turn to take the torch and run with it and I hope that you are appreciated to the extent that you deserve."

The flag was retired by Veterans while a trumpet played. Refreshments were served at the school.