Chadron residents and school students worked together to honor the area’s veterans during a program Friday, but the keynote speaker reminded those present to thank veterans each and every day.
Staff Sgt. Bubba Page, the recruitment officer for the local National Guard unit, said while it is important to take a moment on Veterans Day to recognize the service and sacrifices of our veterans, it shouldn’t be reserved for one day.
“I have a challenge for each and every one of you here today…” he said after asking the audience for a moment of silence. “Thank a veteran every day. I guarantee it will mean the world to them.”
Page, who was born in Arizona but graduated from Wisner-Pilger High School and attended Wayne State College, said he experienced a defining moment that led him to the National Guard during a program much like the one he spoke at Friday.
He wasn’t all that interested in what was going on, he said, until he saw his high school football coach enter the auditorium in full dress uniform. As he listened to his coach speak, he felt the call to follow in his footsteps and serve his country.
“I was overcome with that overwhelming butterfly feeling in my gut,” Page said.
Before the program was over, Page had located the nearest recruitment center on his cell phone and sent them a message. He signed his papers the next day.
The program, organized by Chadron Middle School students, recognized the Army, Marines, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard and included several vocal and instrumental selections by middle and high school choral and band groups.
Honoring local veterans won’t cease now that Veterans Day has passed. Residents can purchase wreaths in honor of a local veteran’s service from now through Dec. 24. The wreaths, which cost $25, will each carry the name of a veteran and be displayed outside of the Chadron American Legion during the entire month of December. To purchase a wreath, call 430-1597 or stop by the American Legion during the Thursday night meals. The proceeds will be used to help area veterans in need.