The One Percent


This holiday weekend, we attended our son Jackson’s high school graduation in Omaha. As with many ceremonies, they recognized our veterans and enlisted service members. In a crowd of more than 1,000, less than 10 stood. This surprised me so much, and I remembered the speech given at Jacobs USMC graduation ceremony and how the speaker had said that we were now a part of the 1 percent.

Growing up in Nuckolls County I never realized just how small that group of men and women is. When enlisted and veterans are asked to stand, at least ten out of one-hundred stands. In my neighborhood alone every other house is home to a veteran, so that graduation ceremony was a big eye opener for me.

That one percent has always held a special place in my heart. I’m not sure at what point that respect was ingrained in me, but for as long as I can remember, its been there. I love to see all the flags out on Memorial Day, and at the same time it pulls at my heart. Many of those flags stand for those who never made it home. Just across from the swimming pool in Nelson, stands a lone flag pole in memory of one who didn’t make it back home, and everyday it reminds me of just how much our freedom cost.

Every time I hear Taps played, I tear up just a bit. Every time I see a torn or tatterd flag waving above a bussiness or home it enfurates me. Everytime I see a flag on the ground, I pick it up! That flag not only represents our country, but the men and women who died to defend it. Respect it please!

Ross Koehler, gave the speech at the Memorial Day ceremonies this year. In his speech he spoke of the veterans in our community and the stories they told to him about their days in the service. He spoke of how those stories had a large part in his decision to enlist. He also pointed out that through those stories, the ones we lost will remain with us. He encouraged all veterans to continue to tell the stories that keep our fallen heroes alive.

He also spoke of a time he was asked to define courage, and was left a little speechless. His comanding officer told him to find an example of courage within the air force, and he did just that. He told the story of an airman who gave his life defending his men. The definition of courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to act even when one is afraid.

So to my beloved veterans, keep telling your stories, and civialians keep listening. Respect that flag, its not just a decoration but a reminder of those who fought to defend it. When you hear Taps being played, stop what you’re doing, and show a little respect for a fallen hero.


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