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Mayor, Congressman help honor veterans
November 14, 2013 Jerry Purvis   

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Photo by Jerry Purvis/Gering Citizen - Gering Junior High students stand and cheer to honor veterans during a Veterans Day observance. Twenty-six area veterans visited the Gering Junior High School for a Veteran’s Day assembly.

The entire student body at Gering Junior High School was in the gym Monday afternoon to pay tribute to America’s veterans and to recognize the relatives of students and staff who served in our military.

Patriotic music was provided by the freshman choir and other students. A moment of silence was observed as Taps was played.

Also honoring the guest veterans were Gering Mayor Ed Mayo and U.S Congressman Adrian Smith of Gering.

“Any vote I take or speech I make in Washington or anywhere else cannot adequately express my gratitude to our veterans for their service,” Smith told the group. “One of the highlights of my career is when I can observe veterans visiting our memorials. It’s a reminder to me of not only why we have memorials, but also what they mean to our country. It’s easy to forget the sacrifice our veterans made.”

Smith said he first learned about public service from his grandfather, who was a Navy Seabee in the South Pacific during World War II. “We’d watch the evening news and he’d tell me about what American meant to the world. I’m glad he shared so many of his stories.”

Smith encouraged the veterans in attendance to tell their stories to others. “Our younger generations and generations to come may not fully appreciate what has been done on our behalf,” he said. “Even with the challenges our country faces today, we’re still the greatest country in the world.”

Gering Mayor Ed Mayo also spoke in thanks for America’s veterans and their service in keeping the nation free.

“In wars throughout our history, our veterans sacrificed everything for our freedom,” Mayo said. “They stepped forward again after that horrible attack on Sept. 11 in 2001.”

He said that sacrifice often means our military have laid down their lives for their nation. But sacrifice also means putting others first.

“Our veterans set aside their daily lives, their time with families and their career paths to serve and protect the rest of us,” Mayo said. “Many also sacrificed their health and paid a huge price for freedom most of us take for granted. Those freedoms are found in our Constitution. We are blessed to have been born a free people in a free nation. Our veterans have paid a price we can never repay. We own them our respect and honor every day.”

Mayo told the students one of the best ways to honor our veterans is to protect our Constitution.
“Seek the best education you can,” he said. “Seek the truth and question everything you hear in the news. Respect yourselves and those around you. And especially, protect the rich history that has been passed on to you by those who came before you.”
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