SIDNEY – Veterans gathered in a corner of the courtsquare in downtown Sidney under umbrellas and a dreary sky on Friday, Nov. 11, to be honored with the placement of memorial wreaths, a rifle salute, the playing of taps, and speakers as part of the Shelby County Veteran Services’ annual Veterans Day event.
The guest speaker was Wes Branscum, a Marine Corps veteran who has worked in the Sidney school district and served as a varsity football coach. Branscum currently works in the Shelby County Children’s Services office. He is a member of the American Legion and AMVETS and is on the city’s peer review committee.
At the beginning of Branscum’s speech, he told a story about how he debated what the topic of his speech should be. He found inspiration from the building of the foundation of a unit he was supervising at work.
“Veterans Day is about celebrating those that create the foundation for our families, communities and our nation. Veterans Day is a time to pay tribute to those who have gone and laid the foundation for the things that make our families, countries and communities the greatest in the world. This foundation is not just military oriented. Once a veteran’s time of service ends, they return to their families, their communities, and these settings to help create a foundation for success,” Branscum said.
“I no longer think of being thanked as a veteran, being thanked for my military service, but being thanked for creating the strong foundation for which I support my family, community, my state and this nation,” he added.
Commissioner Julie Ehemann and Mayor Mardie Milligan also provided remarks.
“I would like to say thank you to all of our veterans for your service. I know I may not fully understand all the sacrifices you’ve had to make, but I can’t thank you enough for your service. I don’t take our freedoms for granted, and I respect you so much for the part you played in making sure we have them. In addition, I would like to thank the families of our veterans for your sacrifice,” Ehemann said.
Ehemann added that when people think of the sacrifices veterans have made, the word “hero” should also come to mind.
“Veterans, please know you are someone’s hero. Heroes are not in comic books; heroes are not on the football field on Sunday afternoon. Often times, heroes return home from their service to our country to quietly live and work and serve in our communities.”
“We gather to remember, to honor, to celebrate the generations of service men and women who have given to us more than we can ever repay to them as a nation,” Milligan said.
Throughout the rest of the program, Army veteran Jack Kacin introduced the events, Amanda Shaffer sang the National Anthem, the Sidney Veterans Honor Guard performed a rifle salute, retired Army veteran and American Legion Post 217 Commander Judy Johnson and Dick Snider – president of the Veteran Service Commission Board – placed the memorial wreaths, Marine Corps veteran Alan Krahulek said the invocation and the benediction, and Sidney High School students Scarlett O’Keefe, Ethan Mayse, Kade Wilson and Isaac Phelps played taps on each side of the court square.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.