MARSHALL - Some symbols, like the American flag, take on a new layer of meaning on Veterans Day, said Marshall High School student Kayla Wyffels. On that day, she said, the flag doesn't just wave for freedom, but for the courage and sacrifice of soldiers.
"It is a day of honor," Wyffels said, addressing an audience of local community members.
While Veterans Day programs were taking place at schools in Marshall on Monday, community observances were also being held at the Adult Community Center downtown. The program included multimedia presentations, patriotic music and a variety of speakers, including Marshall students.
Photo by Deb Gau
Marshall American Legion Post Chaplain Roger Verly led an invocation at the start of a Veterans Day program at the Adult Community Center in Marshall on Monday.
The program's keynote speaker, Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Reisdorfer, reflected on his own time serving with the military, and encouraged the audience to remember Veterans Day is a celebration. We should take time to honor the veterans with us, he said.
"We can honor those we have lost," Reisdorfer said. "But our brothers and sisters in arms - we need to celebrate."
"I knew at the age of 17, I wanted to be part of something bigger," Reisdorfer said of his own decision to join the Army. However, he said in some ways it's strange to hear his service called a sacrifice. "I guess I don't look at it like a sacrifice. It's just what I do."
Other veterans in the audience likely knew the feeling, he said. "It's who we are. It's what we do."
Marshall High School students who participated in Boys State and Girls State this summer also spoke at the program, taking time to say "thank you" to military men and women.
"It's an honor that we get to speak in front of this many different American heroes," said MHS student Daniel Merna.
Student Sydney Prorok said she was thankful for the sacrifices of veterans and soldiers. Her own great-grandfather died serving in World War II, she said.
"I am proud of him, and proud of our country," Prorok said. "I would like to thank our veterans for their sacrifice and bravery."
Monday was also a time for telling stories, speakers said. In particular, Jennifer Andries and Neal Ingebrigtson of the Lyon County Historical Society encouraged area veterans to consider sharing their stories for history. The Historical Society is planning a Veterans' Wall project for the new Lyon County Museum, and one possible part of the display, they said, could be a database where visitors can look up area veterans. But community participation is needed to help collect that information.