WAYNE – Students in kindergarten through 12th grade along with faculty, staff and community members attended the Wayne Community Schools Veterans Day Program Monday morning.
Those who packed the Wayne Jr/Sr high school gymnasium had one thought in their mind and it was to honor veterans both living and those that have passed.
This year’s guest speaker was Jean Steen who joined the Nebraska National Guard in 2006 with the 189th Transportation (Wayne). She was then moved to the 600th Transportation company out of Omaha serving there during her deployment.
When she returned, Steen was with 402nd Military Police Battalion and then the 1076 out of York where she ended her enlistment in March of 2012. Steen, a graduate of Wayne High also has siblings (Josh, Sarah, Andrea) who joined the national guard.
“My brother is really one of the most impactful people for me,” said Steen. “I mean watching him leave was kind of what led me to want to serve and to want to do this. So, he was probably the person that encouraged me the most.”
Steen was a truck driver in the national guard and was deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom starting with two months of training and then 10 months oversees from 2007-2008.
After superintendent of Wayne Community Schools Dr. Mark Lenihan welcomed those who attended, WHS senior Maddie Beair and junior Anthony Hansen provided introductory remarks.
Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on November 11, 1919 marking the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress then passed a resolution in 1926 for the annual observance and November 11 became a national holiday in 1938. The name was changed to Veterans Day in 1954.
Elementary students were able to share their stories and introduce who are Veterans in their family.
“I think this was just an opportunity to help them see how many people are really impacted or how many people know a Veteran,” Steen added. “And I think it’s always fun when you get to see your peers out there sharing their story.”
Steen and several other veterans who were in attendance received a quilt from the Quilt Shop Quilters. The Quilt of Valor began in 2003 and since then over 233,000 quilts have been given to Veterans.
Music was also provided by Wayne elementary students, St. Mary’s elementary students and the Wayne High band.
Colors were posted and then retired by the Wayne Boy Scouts Troop 174 during Veterans day while the pledge of allegiance and Star Spangled Banner were held at the beginning of the program.