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Veterans Day: Tribute to peace, parenthoodTell North Platte what you think
Photo by George Lauby
Photo by George Lauby
Duane Deterding
Photo by George Lauby
Miss Nebraska JaCee Pilkington
Photo by George Lauby
Speakers and organizers, from left, Cal Stratton, Deterding, Pilkington, VFW Commander Larry Steinbrink, Scott Halsted and Holmquist.
Photo by George Lauby
Ham and bean luncheon at the VFW post, clockwise from left, Mary, Earl and David Rosenberg, Sabrina Rosenberg and Peggy Smallfield.

Norval Holmquist prayed for world peace and an end to strife at 11 a.m. Monday, during a Veterans Day observance at the American Legion Post in North Platte.

Holmquist was the first to speak. He asked for the enduring light of wisdom to help people form a brotherhood around the world.

Miss Nebraska JaCee Pilkington led the group in song.

Speaker Duane Deterding, a Lincoln County Commissioner who admitted he is more of a talker than a speaker, told of his experiences as both a soldier and a parent.

Deterding said his uncle came home from World War II missing the lower half of both legs, after he stepped on a land mine, which made a deep impression on Deterding, who was about four years old at the time.

Deterding joined the Marines when he was 18 over his father’s objections. Deterding said he was attracted to the Marine Corps and felt compelled to join up.

“You don’t think about it, you just do it,” he said. “It was our job to do what were told to do and trained to do. We were young, 18, 19, 20. You all know, and I know, some who didn’t come back.”

“Not a day goes by that we don’t think about those who didn’t come back,” he said. “Especially this day.”

Pilkington thanked the veterans for allowing her to wake up every morning in a secure nation. She had a high school friend who died in Afghanistan.

Pilkington has created a nonprofit Operation Remember Me, which advocates for veterans benefits.

She and Deterding both like to talk to students.

“I love to talk to high school kids,” Deterding said. “They are going to be our next military personnel, no question about that.”

Pilkington invites veterans to speak at schools with her about what they endured to serve our country.

She said she has a two appearances scheduled at North Platte elementary schools.

Deterding told the Bulletin he served on a reconnaissance team in Vietnam. He got off a submarine in the middle of the night, just off the Vietnam shore. He and six other members of the team paddled ashore in an inflatable raft. Their mission was to scout enemy activities.

He did not often think about the worries of his parents for his welfare.

“It’s not something a young man thinks that much about,” he said. “But I sure considered that perspective when my own son and grandsons joined up, you bet I did.”

After the short, profound talks, an honor guard fired a rifle salute into the chilly air outside the post, and they stood at attention as Taps were played.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 11/11/2013
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