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SALUTING OUR

HEROES

NOVEMBER 7, 2018

A SUPPLEMENT OF SUBURBAN NEWSPAPERS INC.


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HEROES

SUBURBAN NEWSPAPERS INC.

November 7, 2018

Saluting our American heroes T

here are many ways to honor those who have served and sacrificed for their country — volunteering at the veterans home, visiting with a veteran and listening to his or her story or helping with the 2018 Nebraska’s Official Veterans Parade. Many of us know someone who has served in a branch of the U.S. armed forces. Serving and recognizing these heroes are honors next to none. As important as it is to acknowledge the sacrifices these men and women have made, their efforts are sometimes forgotten. To salute those who have served in the armed forces, head to the 2018 Nebraska’s Official Veterans Parade this Saturday in Bellevue. For more information about the parade, see Page 4. — Suburban Newspapers

Veterans Day facts and figures Veterans Day, once known as Armistice Day, was first celebrated on Nov. 11, 1919, the anniversary of the end of World War I. In 1928, Congress passed a resolution for Armistice Day to be an annual observation, and by 1938, the day became a national holiday. » According to the American Community Survey, there were 19.3 million military veterans in the United States in 2014. Of those, 1.6 million were female. » California, Texas and Florida have the largest number of veterans, equaling 1 million or more. » Veterans consist of people who served in the military. This includes the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard. Veterans serve in times of war and peace. » The word “veteran” comes from the Old English language and means “old, experienced soldier.” The first use of the word was documented in 1789.

Differing from Memorial Day in May, Armistice Day, which would be renamed Veterans Day in 1954 under President Dwight Eisenhower, pays tribute to veterans who survived various wars. Memorial Day commemorates those veterans who lost their lives.

» Although many veterans are working, and the average annual income of male veterans is $37,000, some veterans continue to be unemployed. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall unemployment rate for veterans rose to 7.6 percent in January 2013. The unemployment rate of post-9/11 veterans or those who participated in the Gulf War reached 6.2 percent. » Upon retiring or being discharged, veterans may need help acclimating to life outside the military. The Department of Veterans Affairs says about 30 percent of Vietnam War veterans

have been diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. » Between 1971 and 1977, Veterans Day was celebrated on the fourth Monday in October. It was changed back to its original date, Nov. 11, in 1975 when President Gerald Ford signed bill S.331 into law. The change went into effect in 1978. » An American soldier was buried at the national cemetery in Arlington on Nov. 11, 1921. His identity was unknown, and the gravesite is known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. A guard from the Society of the Honor Guard stands watch over the grave each

year on Veterans Day, and the president or another high-ranking member of the government places a wreath on the grave. » Veterans Day occurs each year on Nov. 11, marking the end of World War I. The day has evolved into a celebration and remembrance of the heroism of America’s brave soldiers. — Metro Creative Connection

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Americans celebrate Veterans Day, while residents of Great Britain, Canada and Australia celebrate Remembrance Day. Those who want to learn more about Veterans Day can consider the following facts.

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HEROES

SUBURBAN NEWSPAPERS INC.

November 7, 2018

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HEROES

SUBURBAN NEWSPAPERS INC.

November 7, 2018

Come out and honor veterans at the parade The 19th annual Defenders of Freedom parade is set for Saturday at 10 a.m. About 100 entries are expected for Nebraska’s Offical Veterans Parade. They will include active-duty and retired military and veterans groups, schools, floats, marching bands, businesses and elected officials. The parade route begins at Jackson Street and Mission Avenue and moves to Washington Park and Franklin Street.

The 595th Command and Control Group marches in the 2017 Veterans Day Parade in Olde Towne Bellevue. The group is an active unit of the United States Air Force. It was activated in 2016.

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SUBURBAN NEWSPAPERS INC.

November 7, 2018

GRAND MARSHAL

The Bellevue West Air Force Junior ROTC marches in the 2017 Veterans Day Parade in Olde Towne Bellevue.

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Retired Brig. Gen. Paul Cohen will serve as the grand marshal in the parade. Cohen was surprised when he heard that he was chosen for the honor. “I’m amazed and humbled by the opportunity to represent veterans in the parade,” said Cohen. “We should honor them every day, but to honor them with the parade I am proud to represent all veterans in that way.” Cohen is an Offutt Advisory Council executive board member and co-commander of the 170th Group, Nebraska Air National Guard. He is an administrator for the Omaha Douglas Public Building Commission. From 1960 to 1995 he served in the United States Air Force, six years active duty and 29 years in the Air National Guard. He retired as the assistant adjutant general air commander of the Air National Guard. From, 1984 to 2003, Cohen was also an Omaha on-air radio personality for Lite 96.

THANK YOU TO OUR VETERANS, ACTIVE DUTY MILITARY & THEIR FAMILES!

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WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR DEDICATION TO OUR COUNTRY.

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SUBURBAN NEWSPAPERS INC.

HEROES

November 7, 2018

Decades after war, veteran is honored anew Grade school pen pals surprise him after learning of lost WWII decorations

Richard Slovek, a 91-year-old World War II veteran, received a new military ribbon and medal to replace the ones he lost after the war. Fourthgrader Charlie Fish did the honors of pinning them on. JOE DEJKA/BH MEDIA

By Joe Dejka BH MEDIA When people mention the Greatest Generation, the kids at Black Elk Elementary know exactly who they’re talking about. He’s their pen pal. For several years, the Millard students have been pen pals with Richard Slovek, 91, a veteran of World War II. At a recent assembly, students, staff and family surprised Slovek, presenting him with replacements for a military ribbon and medal he earned but then lost a half century ago. Army National Guard Lt. Col. Steven Collins officiated, awarding Slovek the World War II Victory Ribbon and Army Occupation Medal for Germany. Fourth-grader Charlie Fish, one of the pen-pal buddies, did the honors of pinning them on Slovek’s chest. According to Slovek’s daughter, Theresa Haack, he graduated early from Omaha South High School in the winter of 1945 and entered the Army. He shipped out to Europe, where he stayed until he was no longer needed. Upon separating from the military in November 1946, Slovek was homesick and excited to see his sweetheart and future wife, Loretta. So he took off for home, leaving his personal belongings, including the medals, with a mail clerk to ship back.

He could explain to the kids about shared “party line” phones from his day. They could explain about iPads. Haack said she came up with the idea to replace the medal and ribbon. She learned from letters to the kids how much the lost medals bothered her dad. It made sense to do it at the school. Slovek, who grew up around the Omaha Stockyards and was an avid outdoorsman, found common ground with Charlie Fish. They both love fishing. So Charlie wrote about his fishing exploits, and Slovek wrote about his favorite fishing holes. Charlie was a natural to pin the medals. He handled the task without incident. “I felt nervous to do it,” he said. “And See Slovek: Page 6 “I waited for them, and he never did mail them back,” Slovek said. His niece, Black Elk third-grade teacher Gina Hill, had initiated the pen pal program with her class. Hill thought it would be good for her uncle, who lives in an assisted living facility, to get mail. She encouraged the kids to ask him about the war. It was good for the kids, she said. “Their writing got better, and once Uncle Rich wrote back, their eyes would light up,” she said.

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HEROES

SUBURBAN NEWSPAPERS INC.

November 7, 2018

Thank you for your service to this Great Country and for protecting our Freedom. We invite all veterans who have served, lived or attended school in Sarpy County to complete an application for a plaque on the Veterans Park Honor Wall. DETAILS CAN BE FOUND ON www.papillionfoundation.org ON THE VETERANS PARK TAB AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE OR YOU CAN CONTACT THE

Papillion Community Foundation 402-331-3917.

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The Papillion Community Foundation would like to extend our eternal gratitude for the sacrifices that our Veterans & their families ry day. ay make every

JOE DEJKA/BH MEDIA

Black Elk Elementary students sing for Richard Slovek at an assembly. Slovek is wrapped in a Quilt of Valor. The quilts are made by volunteers and presented to veterans who have been touched by war.

Slovek: Pen pal helps honor vet Continued from Page 7 had a lot of pressure on me.” Afterward, the two had a chance to shoot the breeze while family and school officials took pictures. “Charlie, you’ve got to come and see me now,” Slovek told the boy. “I’ve got a tackle box. You can go in it, and pick out what you want. You got fishing rods?”

“Yeah,” Charlie answered. The event left Gina Hill emotional, particularly when the quilt was placed around her uncle’s shoulders. The quilts are made by volunteers and presented to veterans who’ve been touched by war. “It was just a lot of love wrapped around him,” she said.

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SUBURBAN NEWSPAPERS INC.

HEROES

November 7, 2018

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Profile for Suburban Newspapers

Saluting Our Heroes  

A special tribute to U.S. armed forces veterans

Saluting Our Heroes  

A special tribute to U.S. armed forces veterans

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