Americans who fought in the Korean War had a name for the kind of cold, blustery weather Omahans experienced on Sunday: summer.
That was just one anecdote shared Sunday at a Veterans Day ceremony held in Memorial Park to illustrate the bravery, strength and will of American servicemen and servicewomen, from the Revolutionary War through today's deployment in Afghanistan.
Hundreds of people braved late-morning temperatures in the 20s to attend the annual gathering at 60th and Dodge Streets. It was one of several special events held across the Midlands on Sunday to thank veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice.
The country observes Veterans Day on Nov. 11 every year to mark the end of World War I hostilities on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.
Kelly Epperson of Omaha, whose husband, David, served eight years in the U.S. Navy, attended the Memorial Park event.
“He was away a few times,” Epperson said. “It was tough.”
Among the political officials speaking at the ceremony were Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle and U.S. Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb.
Suttle said his office today will announce a new program in partnership with the Boy Scouts of America to help veterans this winter. Scouts will shovel snow from vets' driveways and sidewalks.
“We owe you more than words can ever express,” the mayor said.
Terry said members of the military “suffer injuries, separation and even death. The sacrifices of these veterans and their families have ensured generations of freedom for the American people.”
U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns couldn't attend, but a staff member read a letter Johanns wrote expressing his thanks to veterans.
At Heartland of America Park, Command Sgt. Maj. James Nichols, a retired Army Green Beret, spoke to about 25 people.
The ceremony took place in front of a memorial erected by the Heartland Airborne Memorial Association to honor fallen paratroopers from all branches of service, said Terry Zahn, president of the association.
The first four rows of bricks in front of the monument pay tribute to those who died in Afghanistan and Iraq. Next summer the group hopes to add a Medal of Honor wall behind the memorial.
“Every Veterans Day and Memorial Day we pay tribute to fallen soldiers,” Zahn said.
Staff writer Kelsey Stewart contributed to this report.
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