OSAGE | This year, Veteran’s Day was celebrated on Monday, Nov. 13, in Osage, with a middle school/high school assembly at Osage High School

The event brought the student body and community together to honor the service of community veterans. This year’s guest speakers were Kyle Andrews, from the Osage American Legion, Major Rob Stangel, of the 185th OSSB.

Andrews spoke of how military veterans returning from the Vietnam War were discouraged from wearing any signs of their service, due to nationwide protests of the war and how so many of them went unrecognized and virtually ignored.

“It wasn’t the radicals that protected freedom of speech,” Andrews said, “but the men and women serving in this country’s military.

“The simplest way to thank a veteran is simply to say, ‘Thank you for what you did for our country’.”

Andrews reminded those in attendance of the struggles veterans face as they return to a community, trying to assimilate into the day-to-day activities, so many take for granted. He also spoke how the community and their loved ones can help them, not just when they return, but in the years to come.

“Twenty veterans a day take their lives because they have never recovered from the invisible wounds from their service,” Andrews said. “If you know of a veteran struggling, let them know the Veterans administration has people available to help them. Most veterans would agree that the best war is the one that is never fought, but when one has to be fought, the men and women in uniform are there to do what needs to be done. Some serve in war zones, putting their lives on the line; others are in the reserves, supporting those efforts. That is what veterans do, country first.”

Andrews spoke of the struggles currently going on within our country, among them the national debt and the concern over how far reaching the effects of that debt have become.

“When we hear about the high national debt, we should not minimize that,” Andrews said, “but remember those who paid an even higher debt. Veterans benefits are part of that promise that was made to those who served and the sacrifices they made. The loss of lives was also one of those costs. God bless America and god bless our Veterans.”

A 15-year Army veteran, Stangel spoke about the different ways someone can come to serve their country. He spoke about his own experience, joining the National Guard in February 2003, as a private, after he’d attended college for two years and attained an associate’s degree. In 2005, Stangel went to officer candidate school. In his 15 years, he talked of spending a total of three years away from his family, twice being deployed to Kuwait.

“Many visualize war as tanks and kicking in doors,” Stangel said. “But the military also needs those who support. When I landed back in Kuwait for my second deployment, it was on Christmas Day 2008. We were tasked with hauling heavy equipment for those who were kicking in doors and driving tanks. Our missions were called convoys. We only drove at night because there was less hostility after dark. While we did receive hostile fire, we were lucky; there were no casualties and we completed all of our missions.”

Following Major Stangel, the program concluded with the band played the anthems for each branch of service, while the veterans and family members of a veteran, who served in that branch was asked to stand and be acknowledged, while the song was played.

Student council members distributed letters from the students to the veterans in attendance, after which, the band played the "Star Spangled Banner."

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