Hundreds attend 2017 Memorial Day ceremony

 

Tonia Copeland/Western Nebraska Observer

Joe Hernandez, left forefront, is honored.

Rising once again after declining membership and participation threatened its existence, the local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #2243 teamed up with auxiliary members and the Kimball County Veterans Service Office for the 2017 Memorial Day Ceremony at the Kimball Cemetery.

Master of Ceremony, Butch Nitz, who also serves as the Post Surgeon, introduced Kimball Mayor Keith Prunty to begin the program, "Memorial Day is a time for us to connect with our history and our core values by honoring those who gave their lives for the ideals that we cherish."

Prunty added that, for many, the patriotic core is absent. He encouraged veterans to keep patriotism alive by sharing their stories and further encouraged others to continue remembering the sacrifices of soldiers throughout history and reconnect with those currently serving.

Following an opening prayer and patriotic music, Joyce Witt, longtime auxiliary leader, read the poem, "I am a Veteran" as current auxiliary members placed a ceremonial wreath at the base of the stone dedicated to all who have served.

Dale Whitrock, past State Commander, from Davenport, honored the fallen, embraced patriotism and pride and gave a brief history of humble beginnings of Memorial Day.

"We are truly fortunate to live in a country worth fighting for, to be afforded a way of life worth dying for," he said. "We must remember there has been no other nation on earth whose sacrifice has been greater than ours. None who has given so much to afford freedom for others. We must never forget, many that fought for freedom did not get to enjoy it."

Whitrock stressed the importance of passing our knowledge on to future generations so that tomorrow's generations understand the true cost of freedom.

"My friends, freedom has never been free, freedom is not free and freedom will never be free, but indeed comes at a very high price," he said. "May God bless our fallen, may God bless our troops and may God continue to bless America."

Each of Kimball's recent fallen were recognized by Veterans Service Officer, Bob Jenner prior to the Honor Guard Salute and Taps was played by Jennifer Provance and Mary Kay Jenner sang The Star Spangled Banner.


Present veterans were asked to identify themselves and were honored during the ceremony and longtime VFW leader, Joe Hernandez was presented a plaque.

"There is one veteran among us today, that has been in Kimball County most of his life, has served on the Veterans Service Committee for several years and has been instrumental in keeping the local VFW Post going for several years, even when it was on its last legs – last year," Nitz said. "We would like to honor Joe Hernandez for all that he has done for the community and for serving veterans. Joe, thank you very much for everything."

The flags were raised to full staff and the service ended with a closing prayer with more than 100 citizens present to remember our honored dead and offer gratitude to those still here.

Tonia Copeland/Western Nebraska Observer

The Honor Guard salutes during the 2017 Memorial Day ceremony.

 

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