On the 11th day of the 11th month, Americans set aside time to honor their country’s veterans and commend them for their service. Some showed support through words of gratitude to military family and friends, while others went as far as constructing a banner for eastbound traffic traveling down Ida Street.
Marian students, on Veterans Day, found numerous creative ways to commemorate military members. “My grandfather served in the Vietnam War,” freshman Kaviana Shelton said. “[On Veterans Day] we gathered at our family cottage in Nebraska and invited veterans who didn’t have family members to celebrate with us. We had a huge and amazing barbecue and reminded the veterans that they were all loved. At the end, we set off Army green balloons for our fallen heroes.”
Over the past year, the color green has become a recognizable sign of honor for members of the military. Walmart started an initiative called “Greenlight a Vet” which encouraged consumers to purchase green lights and turn them on at night as a way of thanking veterans for their commitment to the country.
“I first heard of the green light when I was watching the CMA awards a couple of weeks ago,” sophomore Melanie Brusnahan said. “There are many, many, many veterans in our community, but we don’t always recognize that they have served our country because they might be our teacher, banker or even the guy who washes our car. My family puts out a green light to show support for all the veterans within community, whether they are recognized or not.”
Marian currently has one veteran on staff, Mr. Matthew Winterboer. He served as a Naval Submarine Officer for seven years, with time spent on submarines in both Virginia and Connecticut, and also served at the United States Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base for a while.
As seniors look to the future, at least two students have decided to pursue a military academy education and follow in Mr. Winterboer’s footsteps. Both Emma Nelson and Sarah Villarreal are in the process of applying to the Air Force. “I have grown up in a military family and enjoyed both the blessings and heartache of a military lifestyle,” Nelson said. “I feel called to serve, and right now this is the path God is leading me down.”
“I want to be able to serve and give back to the country that has given my family so much,” Villarreal said. “The Air Force values integrity and hard work, much like I do, and I plan on devoting my life to this.”