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OLIVIA WIESELER: Thank you for your service

OLIVIA WIESELER: Thank you for your service

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Olivia Wieseler

Olivia Wieseler

When I was in grade school, we had three concerts to prepare for throughout the year: Christmas, spring and Veterans Day.

In grade school, I didn’t quite understand the significance of the Veterans Day concert. While Christmas and spring concerts were broken up into elementary, middle school and high school performances, the Veterans Day concert was the one in which the entire school, K-12, got together for one giant performance.

Around 150 students would sing patriotic songs, and our school bands of various skill-level would take turns playing popular American tunes. I remember as an elementary student sitting in a “U-S-A” formation donning patriotic colors and as a high school student reading essays I’d written for the Voice of Democracy contest each year.

However, I don’t think I ever fully appreciated the significance of Veterans Day until I got older and began to understand what a veteran really was. When I was young, I thought Veterans Day was just a day to celebrate our country. Now, I know it’s not the country we celebrate, but those who fought for it.

Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of direct contact with many veterans. Both of my grandfathers and great-grandfathers ended up in unique situations where they were never drafted for, or couldn’t serve in, any of the wars. I have great uncles and other distant relatives who fought for our nation, but unfortunately, I never had the chance to meet them.

So, for the longest time, the importance of the sacrifice that veterans have given never fully registered with me — not until I began to tell a few of their stories.

As a journalist, I’ve had the opportunity to meet a number of veterans over the last few years during my collegiate and professional career and tell their stories from their time in the service. With each new wartime — and even peacetime — story I listened to, I found a new kind of reverence for those who gave up any amount of time in their lives to serve our nation, through all of its good times and bad, victories and failures, virtues and flaws. It takes a special person to be able to do that.

That’s why I love seeing the lengths to which Veterans Day is celebrated around here, with the parade and the programs and performances.

It’s practically impossible for us to ever fully repay veterans for all they’ve done for us, but the least we can do is recognize them and teach our children the importance of doing so.

It makes me proud to be a part of a community that not only serves as home to many military men and women, but does a fairly good job in recognizing them for what they do and have done for the nation we love and the freedoms we enjoy.

Thank you, veterans.

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Reporter

Olivia Wieseler is a reporter with the Star-Herald. She can be reached at 308-632-9051 or by emailing olivia.wieseler@starherald.com.

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