Vets recognized at 14th annual Valley Falls Veterans Day Program

Vets recognized at 14th annual Valley Falls Veterans Day Program
Published: Nov. 11, 2021 at 10:10 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Valley Falls USD 338 grade and high school students and staff gathered in the gym to honor veterans on the court.

Sergeant Major Jeremy Byers of the Kansas National Guard visited as keynote speaker. His speech acknowledged World War I and II, Vietnam and Korean war veterans that are still with us.

He shared how the word leadership can be changed to mean even more with an acronym for each letter that is tied to an experience he had.

“With each is an army value and so I tied “Loyalty” to one of my battle buddies in Korea, “Duty” to an Iraqi soldier I met in one of my tours and then on and so forth.”

Back about four years ago, Byers was in Valley Falls for presentations and showed artillery with civil war reenactments. He said it was one of the first historic actions he got to take part in as Command Historian and Curator for the Kansas National Guard Museum.

“I helped legion post 3084 get their artillery piece and I also helped support them get that tank in the Memorial Park.”

The tank he talks about is a Kansas National Guard tank moved to Legion Post 1 right after it was decommissioned. Legion Post 1 was deactivated, so they needed to put it somewhere. He said this community was the best place for it because of their support for veterans.

No matter the age.

“For third graders, it’s about connecting with relatives because by the time they become high schoolers a lot of those relatives probably won’t be able to tell the stories anymore. So becoming aware of a narrative that’s greater than them. A narrative of service to the nation,” he said. “For high schoolers, it can be similar or might even be a spiritual kick to the head that maybe that’s something they want to do and even if it’s not the military, service to the nation.”

Students also made poster boards about the history of wars, prisoners of war, heroes of the civil rights movement, even showcasing some of the veterans in attendance.

A couple of students received VFW Patriot Pen Awards along with a presentation of quills by some students too.

He wanted people to walk away with the question of why did someone serve.

“Then I want them to take that question back to their family or their friends and ask that question and actually think about what the answer to that is. Then pondering that if they have someone in that narrative and they all do. Everybody does. It’s just a matter of figuring out what it is,” he said.

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