In honor of Veterans Day, we've included excerpts out of two articles written by Clara Osten that ran in this week's paper, along with photos from this morning's program at Wayne High.
Members of the 189th Transportation Company presented the colors at the event, and keynote speaker Duane Schroeder spoke about supporting servicemen and women. He also told students they didn't have to be members of the armed services to serve -- saying that service through community involvement, committees and groups was an important aspect of being an American, regardless of time served in the military.
For more than 500 Vietnam veterans, a welcome home recently was much more pleasant than that of 40 years ago.
The Vietnam combat veterans were part of a Nebraska Vietnam Combat Veterans Flight to Washington D.C. in June. Among those on the three planes were several veterans from this area.
"The one day trip to Washington, DC. for Vietnam veterans from Nebraska was absolutely fantastic - every detail from large to small was included," Dennis Otte said about one of those flights.
Dennis spoke of the trip's adventures to the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Wall and Korean Memorial, among many other stops.
"The ceremony at the Wall was especially touching. Many vets found the names of those who did not return. The Korean Memorial was almost ghostly as the realistic soldiers seemed to be moving and looking at the veterans," Dennis said.
The wives of the veterans were treated to a day in Lincoln where they toured Memorial Stadium and got to hear Gov. Pete Ricketts speak, along with several other items on their itineraries. To cap off the day, the women were taken by bus to the airport to greet their veteran when he arrived.
"We arrived back at the hotels in time to freshen up before leaving for the airport. People had begun lining up at 6 p.m. to welcome the veterans home. The planes did not arrive back until after 9:30 p.m.," Keri said.
In observance of Veterans Day, some of the veterans who were a part of the recent Nebraska Vietnam Combat Veterans flight shared information on their service time and thoughts on the recent flight to Washington, D.C.
All expressed deep appreciation to Patriotic Productions founder Bill Williams who organized the trip and all the activities surrounding it.
The five veterans willing to share their experiences with the Herald included, Lonnie Nixon of Laurel, who enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps at 17 years old. After graduating from Wakefield High School, he began is service, first in Okinowa and later in Vietnam.
A second veteran, Mike Fluent, told the Herald he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1968 when he was 20 years old. He served as part of the 25th Division Combat Infantry as a scout when in Vietnam.
Darrel Walton was also drafted into the U.S. Army when he was 20 years old and served from May of 1970 to April of 1971. While in the military, he served as an infantry platoon sergeant.
Dick Carlson of Laurel had joined the 133rd National Guard Unit in Sioux City, Iowa and was sent to Colorado Springs, Colo. before being sent to Vietnam in February of 1969.
Dennis Otte shipped out of Tacoma, Wash. in mid July of 1966 and after 22 days on a ship, arrived in Vietnam. The 21 year old had been drafted into the U.S. Army with an M.O.S. of heavy weapons infantry.
To read more about these men and their stories, grab a copy of this week's Wayne Herald.