Harrisburg High School is honoring Veterans through a special program today. From the choir to the band, students and the community are recognizing military members in KELOLAND.
A chorus of gratitude is greeting Veterans in Harrisburg.
Dozens of students are taking time out of their day to make someone who served feel special.
“They are humble. They are approachable and often times you don’t even know that they are Veterans unless you’re at an event like this,” Colonel Quenten Esser said.
Esser from the South Dakota Air National Guard is the guest speaker. The fighter pilot remembers an unthinkable mission he went on after the tragedy of 9/11.
“Our objectives that night came straight from the Vice President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense and they were written on a piece of paper and simply put, ‘Defend the Homeland at all cost,'” Esser said. “I was 25 years old taking off in a fully armed F-16 flying over sovereign U.S. air space and prepared to shoot down aircraft over U.S. soil.”
Luckily he never had to make that decision.
Esser says being a Veteran is about passion, commitment and sacrifice to the country. It’s about protecting it from all enemies foreign and domestic.
“I know every Veteran, every person sitting in this front row, has gone above and beyond. They’ve put more energy than required and they’ve definitely poured their mind, body, heart and soul into ensuring they uphold that part of the oath,” Esser said.
An oath they made to a country they love.
“They’ve stepped up and done their part in service to this country and now it is time for us to step up and show them the appropriate level of thanks,” Esser said.