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Spread across nearly 100 miles, area students all heard the same message from local veterans on Friday afternoon thanks to a video conference at Educational Service Unit 8.
Veterans who served in the Air Force, Army Reserves, Army, Marine Corps and the National Guard spoke at the ESU 8 technology center in Neligh. The first of two conferences was broadcast to six schools.
Molly Aschoff coordinated the event, which allowed students to listen to and ask the veterans questions all from their respective schools. Spencer-West Boyd, Ainsworth, Chambers, Lynch, Stuart and Clearwater-Orchard all had students log in for the 45-minute video conferencing session.
Aschoff said it's important to hold this special event because, "I think our kids have lost touch with why they have their freedoms. They don't realize why they get to do what they do. It's because of these veterans. This gives them a better picture."
Veterans Day is Tuesday, Nov. 11.
This is the second year for the event. Last year all participants were Vietnam War vets, but Aschoff said they opened the panel up this year to veterans from all different backgrounds.
Veterans who participated in the event were Lyle Juracek, Dr. James Zielinksi, Ted Rethmeier, Wayne Schact, Ron Marshall, Michaela Potter, Rick Schindler and Daryl Booth.
Students submitted questions on the draft, daily conditions, battles, equipment, what they did after their service, recommendations for students and what they want people to remember about the wars they fought in.
The veterans stressed the important educational benefits of service to the students and also had several stories and relics to share with them.
Marshall, who serves as the Veterans Service Officer in Neligh and was in the Air Force for 20 years, asked the students to thank veterans.
"In these next few days, thank the veterans and tell them they are appreciated."